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COPYRIGHT,  1907, 

Set  up  and  electrotypcd.     Published  February,  1907. 


J.  8.  Cashing  &  Co.  —  Berwick  &  Smith  Co. 
Norwood,  Mass.,  U.S.A. 


SINCE  the  appearance  of  the  first  volume  of  this  edition  so 
many  new  documents  have  been  discovered  by  the  diligent 
investigations  of  scholars,  and  generously  furnished  from 
private  collections,  that  it  has  become  an  embarrassing 
problem  to  include  both  the  -new  and  the  old  within  the  limits 
of  the  work  as  originally  proposed.  I  have  been  forced 
reluctantly  to  abandon  my  cherished  plan  of  a  comprehensive 
biography  of  Franklin,  and  to  content  myself  with  a  more 
meagre  outline  of  the  story  of  his  life.  The  publication  of 
his  works  in  their  original  integrity  is  the  object  of  first 
importance,  and  to  that  end  all  other  causes  must  give  way. 
Moreover,  Franklin's  writings  are  his  best  biography,  a  fact 
recognized  by  Mr.  Bigelow,  who,  in  his  "Life  of  Franklin," 
has  allowed  the  great  man  through  his  Memoirs  and  his 
correspondence  —  "  almost  miraculously  preserved  from  in- 
calculable perils"  —  to  tell  his  own  story.  In  the  sketch  of 
personal  and  political  history  contained  in  the  present 
volume,  I  have  been  as  brief  as  was  consistent  with  clearness, 
because  I  have  had  small  space  at  my  command,  and  because 
it  has  seemed  unnecessary  to  quote  from  documents  which 
exist  in  the  previous  volumes  of  this  work. 

In  the  writing  of  the  biography  I  have  been  chiefly  indebted 
to  the  late  lamented  Henri  Doniol,  whose  monumental  work, 
"Histoire  de  la  Participation  de  la  France  a  PEtablissement 
des  Etats-Unis  d'Amerique,"  is  one  of  the  triumphs  of  histori- 


cal  research.  "The  Life  of  Franklin,"  by  James  Parton,  is  a 
work  of  much  labour  and  learning  which  has  fallen  into  un- 
merited neglect.  I  have  found  the  Vicomte  de  Noailles'  "  Ma- 
rins  et  Soldats  Franfais  en  Ame'rique  "  frequently  helpful. 

The  second  centenary  of  the  birth  of  Franklin  was  made  in 
1906  the  occasion  of  extraordinary  honours  and  unprecedented 
commemorations.  Anniversary  feasts  and  elaborate  cele- 
brations continued  hi  ever  increasing  interest  in  many  parts  of 
America,  from  their  beginning  in  the  first  week  of  the  year  until 
their  stately  culmination  hi  the  august  proceedings  of  the 
month  of  April  hi  Paris  and  the  splendid  ceremonials  of  the 
same  tune  in  Philadelphia.  The  State  of  Pennsylvania  made 
a  liberal  appropriation  to  The  American  Philosophical  Society 
to  defray  the  cost  of  the  latter  celebration,  at  which  one  hun- 
dred and  twenty-seven  societies  and  institutions  of  learning 
in  Europe  and  America  were  represented.  A  gold  medal, 
designed  by  Louis  and  Augustus  St.  Gaudens,  was  struck 
by  order  of  Congress  and  presented,  under  the  direction  of 
the  President  of  the  United  States,  to  the  Republic  of  France. 

In  Paris  a  statue  of  Franklin,  the  gift  of  Mr.  John  H.  Harjes, 
was  unveiled  at  the  entrance  into  the  Place  du  Trocade'ro  of 
the  rue  Franklin,  on  which  the  philosopher  and  statesman 
dwelt  during  his  stay  at  Passy.  Two  ex-presidents  of  the 
French  Republic  and  one  of  the  United  States,  distinguished 
officials  and  diplomatists  of  world-wide  fame,  constituted  a 
Committee  of  Honour  to  add  brilliancy  to  the  fete.  The  cele- 
bration took  place  in  the  salle  des  etes  of  the  Palace  of  the 
Trocade'ro  in  the  presence  of  nearly  five  thousand  persons 
and  almost  all  the  high  officials  of  the  French  government  and 
the  ministers  and  ambassadors  of  foreign  powers.  A  dis- 
tinguished French  orator  and  cabinet  minister  was  chosen 


by  the  French  government  to  deliver  a  eulogy,  and  the  editor 
of  this  work  was  appointed  by  President  Roosevelt  as  the 
spokesman  of  the  United  States.  I  have  drawn  occasionally 
in  the  course  of  this  volume  upon  my  oration  delivered  upon 
that  occasion,  and  I  have  sometimes  quoted  from  a  series  of 
articles  upon  "Franklin's  Social  Life  in  France,"  contributed 
by  me  to  Putnam's  Monthly,  for,  as  the  old  Greek  proverb 
runs,  Si?  Se  OVK  evSe^erai. 

In  the  preface  to  the  first  volume  I  announced  the  publica- 
tion of  a  manuscript  by  Franklin  relating  to  the  early  Ameri- 
can plantations.  It  is  a  document  of  the  year  1731,  and  is, 
next  to  the  Autobiography,  the  most  extensive  yet  found  in 
Franklin's  handwriting.  It  was  discovered  among  the  papers 
recently  acquired  by  the  University  of  Pennsylvania.  Fur- 
ther research  has  resulted  in  the  discovery  that  it  was  really 
written  by  James  Logan  and  was  a  memorial  sent  by  him  to 
Robert  Walpole.  It  is  a  document  of  much  interest  and  sin- 
gularly wise  and  prophetic,  but  as  it  is  demonstrably  not  by 
Franklin  it  does  not  appear  in  this  work.  Another  promise, 
I  regret  to  say,  remains  unfulfilled.  The  most  diligent  search 
has  failed  to  find  the  letter  in  Cremona  written  by  Franklin  to 
Lorenzo  Manini  (Vol.  I,  p.  12).  My  friend  Signor  Novati, 
the  distinguished  scholar  of  Milan,  a  native  of  Cremona, 
personally  assisted  the  librarian  in  the  search ;  but  they  have 
been  obliged  to  conclude  that  the  precious  document  has  been 
lost  or  stolen  from  the  library. 

One  instance  of  the  duplication  of  an  article  appears  in 
Volume  IX;  number  1482  and  number  1491  (pp.  174  and 
189)  are  identical.  The  first  of  these  had  already  been 
printed  from  Mr.  Bigelow's  edition  when  the  original  letter 
was  found  in  the  British  Museum  and  it  is  here  faithfully 

viii  PREFACE 

copied.  It  will  be  noticed  that  the  letter  was  actually  writ- 
ten three  weeks  later  than  the  date  hitherto  ascribed  to  it. 

Certain  spurious  letters  of  Franklin  exist,  and  have  occa- 
sionally, as  in  the  Vraine-Lucas  forgeries,  deceived  the  edi- 
tors of  his  works.  Such  a  letter  is  found  in  "Joseph  and 
Benjamin,  a  Conversation,  translated  from  a  French  Manu- 
script" (printed  at  the  logographic  press  for  J.  Murray, 
No.  32,  Fleet  Street,  1787),  in  which,  writing  from  Boston, 
under  date  of  May  27,  1786,  to  the  Emperor  Joseph,  Frank- 
lin proposes  to  invite  one  of  the  sons  of  the  king  of  England 
to  be  king  of  America.  Two  fictitious  letters  are  in  "La 
Cassette  Verte  de  M.  Sartine,  trouve*e  chez  Mademoiselle 
du  The'"  (a  la  Haye,  1779).  One  of  these  is  in  French 
(p.  33) ;  the  other,  likewise  addressed  to  M.  de  Sartine,  is  in 
English  and  concludes:  "I  am  insulted  in  all  the  languages 
of  Europe.  My  religion  is  satirized  in  Italian.  My  politics 
in  Spanish  and  Dutch.  I  hear  Washington  ridiculed  in 
Russian,  and  myself  in  all  the  jargon  of  Germany.  I  cannot 
bear  it.  Make  Europe  civil  to  America,  or  I'll  follow  Silas 

It  is  often  said  that  the  famous  song,  (a  ira,  of  the  French 
Revolution  had  its  origin  with  Benjamin  Franklin,  and  the 
statement  has  been  as  often  denied  (see  Vol.  X,  pp.  362-363). 
In  a  little  book  entitled  "  Inauguration  de  la  Maison  commune 
d'Auteuil,  Paris,  Imprimerie  du  Cercle  Social"  (1792),  it  is 
told  that  upon  the  opening  of  the  new  mairee,  or  maison  com- 
mune of  Auteuil,  in  August,  1792,  the  effigies  of  great  men 
were  carried  in  procession  from  the  old  house  to  the  new,  and 
that  a  band  of  music  accompanied  the  bust  of  Franklin, 
playing,  by  order  of  the  municipal  agent,  M.  Pierre  Antoine 
Benoit,  the  air  of  ga  ira. 


A  debated  incident  in  the  later  life  of  Franklin  I  have  not 
mentioned.  A  college  in  Pennsylvania,  having  taken  his  name, 
received  a  munificent  gift  from  him,  and  it  is  said  that  he 
actually  made  the  journey  to  Lancaster  to  attend  the  laying 
of  the  corner  stone.  No  record  of  that  visit  exists  at  what 
is  now  Franklin  and  Marshall  College.  The  ceremonies 
attending  the  inauguration  were  in  1787,  and  Franklin  was 
then  suffering  so  severely  from  gout  and  stone  that  an  ex- 
pedition to  the  State  House,  an  eighth  of  a  mile  from  his 
home,  was  a  formidable  enterprise.  He  could  not  ride  in  a 
carriage  even  before  his  return  from  Paris,  and  he  was  carried 
from  that  city  to  Havre  upon  a  litter.  He  was  borne  about 
in  Philadelphia  in  1788  in  a  sedan  chair,  and  he  regretted 
that  he  had  not  brought  with  him  to  America  a  balloon  which, 
held  captive  in  a  servant's  hand,  would  have  furnished  him 
with  the  easiest  locomotion.  No  jot  of  evidence  exists  that 
he  was  ever  out  of  Philadelphia  after  he  entered  the  city  amid 
the  acclamations  of  his  fellow-townsmen  upon  his  return 
from  France,  nor  does  it  seem  within  the  bounds  of  possi- 
bility that  he  could  have  endured  a  journey  of  seventy  miles 
in  a  carriage  over  the  rough  roads  of  Pennsylvania.  Never- 
theless, Crevecceur  relates  in  his  "Voyage  dans  la  haute 
Pensylvanie  "  (Vol.  I,  p.  26),  that  he  accompanied  Franklin 
upon  his  visit  to  Lancaster,  and  that  upon  the  day  of  the 
ceremony  one  of  the  principal  inhabitants  of  the  town  in- 
quired concerning  the  origin  of  the  Indian  tribes  and  asked 
whether  they  were  really  autochthonous,  whereupon  Frank- 
lin discoursed  upon  the  mounds  and  fortifications  of  the  an- 
cient people  of  the  country.  It  is  at  least  a  curious  coincidence 
that  in  a  letter  written  February  2,  1788,  the  due  de  la  Roche- 
foucauld told  Franklin  that  he  had  received  from  Crevecceur 


an  account  of  ancient  fortifications  discovered  at  the  con- 
fluence of  the  Muskingum  and  the  Ohio.  Abbe*  Morellet, 
in  a  letter  dated  July  31,  1787,  refers  to  the  Lancaster  cere- 
monies, but  it  appears  that  Franklin  had  sent  to  him  a 
pamphlet  printed  upon  the  occasion  and  descriptive  of  the 

"In  the  dedication  of  your  college  in  the  County  of  Lan- 
caster," writes  Morellet,  "and  the  fine  procession,  and  the 
religious  ceremony,  where  were  met  together  Presbyterians, 
Episcopalians,  Lutherans,  Catholics,  Moravians,  e  tutti 
quanti,  there  was  toleration  in  practice.  I  have  translated 
the  whole  of  the  pamphlet  which  you  sent  me  and  had  it 
inserted  in  our  Mercury." 

Crevecceur  was  a  truthful  man,  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that 
some  lucky  find  will  clear  away  the  doubt  and  obscurity 
that  gather  about  the  journey  to  Lancaster. 

It  will  be  noticed  that  I  have  adopted  throughout  these 
volumes  the  Austrian  way  of  spelling  the  name  of  INGEN- 
HOUSZ.  In  the  published  works  of  that  distinguished  philos- 
opher, and  hi  the  authorized  translations  of  them,  the  name 
is  spelled  INGEN  Housz.  He  signed  himself  INGENHOUSZ, 
and  sometimes  in  familiar  letters  J.  Housz.  A  descendant  of 
this  illustrious  man,  Dr.  Oskar,  Freiherr  von  Mitis,  an  official 
of  the  K.  und  K.  Haus-,  Hof-  und  Staatsarchiv,  with  great  and 
generous  kindness,  sent  me  a  strange  manuscript  volume  en- 
titled "Consultatio  Medica  super  proprium  morbum  auto- 
grapha  Benjamini  Franklin  ad  joannem  Ingenhousz."  The 
volume  contains  two  manuscripts,  the  first  consisting  of 
seventy-six  pages  and  containing  about  seventeen  thousand 
words.  The  second  is  an  amplification  and  extension  of  the 
first  and  written  in  an  almost  microscopic  hand,  its  seventy 


pages  containing  not  less  than  seventy-eight  thousand  words. 
The  first  part  —  Caput  I.  De  Natura  Morbi  —  is  in  the  hand- 
writing of  the  elder  Jacquin,  Nikolaus  Josef,  the  celebrated 
botanist.  The  second  part,  beginning  Pathologies  Pars 
prima,  is  believed  in  Germany  to  have  been  written  either  by 
Ingenhousz,  the  uncle  of  Jacquin,  or  by  Franklin.  Upon  the 
paper  cover  is  written  "Has  immortalis  viri  reliquias  sociis 
et  amicis  religiose  asservandas  tradit"  (signed)  Jacquin. 
Freiherr  von  Mitis  assures  me  that  this  is  unquestionably 
in  the  handwriting  of  Jacquin,  and  that  there  can  be  no  doubt 
of  his  love  of  truth.  The  cover  is  slightly  scorched,  for 
the  manuscript  was  rescued  from  the  fire,  together  with  a 
few  other  papers,  in  1848  by  Karl  von  Schreiber,  son-in-law 
of  Jacquin.  Since  1852  this  mysterious  volume  has  been  in 
the  possession  of  the  family  of  Von  Mitis,  and  although 
it  has  been  frequently  examined  no  information  has  been 
obtained  concerning  its  origin.  It  corresponds  with  no 
known  writing  of  Ingenhousz  or  Franklin.  It  is  identical 
with  no  other  manuscript.  And  yet  the  testimony  of  Jac- 
quin is  precise  and  reverent,  and  the  document  has  never 
departed  from  the  descendants  of  Ingenhousz. 

Information  concerning  the  identity  of  the  Bishop  of  Tri- 
comia,  to  whom  Franklin  addressed  a  letter  dated  April  22, 
1777,  reached  me  too  late  to  be  printed  in  its  proper  place 
(Vol.  VII,  p.  43).  The  information  kindly  supplied  by 
Monsignor  Veccia,  secretary  of  the  Congregation  of  the 
Propaganda  at  Rome,  was  obtained  from  the  Archives  of  the 
Propaganda.  The  Bishop  is  there  named  "Revmus  Pater 
Dominus  Petrus  Joseph  Perreau  Bisuntina?  [Besancon] 
Dioccesios  electus  Episcopus  Tricomien :  in  Consistorio  diei 
17  Juliis  1775  —  da  Pio  VI  Braschi." 


In  the  Appendix  to  Volume  V  (p.  553),  I  have  printed 
Franklin's  "Observations  on  Maize  or  Indian  Corn."  In 
a  footnote  I  stated  that  the  date  of  its  composition  was  un- 
known. I  have  since  learned  from  a  letter  in  the  collection 
of  The  American  Philosophical  Society  that  it  was  written  in 
the  spring  of  1785,  and  sent  to  the  famous  French  chemist, 
Cade"t  de  Vaux,  for  publication  in  the  Journal  de  Paris,  — 
"I  send  herewith  some  Observations  on  the  Use  of  that 
Grain,  of  which  you  are  at  Liberty  to  make  such  Use  as  you 
may  think  proper"  (April  28,  1785). 

I  have  not  attempted  to  prepare  a  list  of  misprints,  and  most 
of  those  that  I  have  noted  are  so  obvious  that  they  scarcely 
need  correction.  But  the  mind  plays  us  sometimes  sorry 
tricks.  In  the  carefully  and  frequently  read  proof-sheets 
of  Mrs.  Cowden-Clarke's  "Concordance  to  Shakespeare," 
a  notable  error  escaped  the  watchful  eyes  of  all  the  practised 
readers:  "I  Pandulph  of  fair  Milan  Cardinal"  became 
and  remained  by  the  power  of  pictorial  suggestion  resident 
in  the  name  of  the  fair  Italian  city,  —  "of  fair  Milan  cathe- 
dral." By  a  like  tyranny  of  historic  suggestion  the  name  of 
Nemours  called  to  mind  memories  of  that  lofty  line  of  French 
nobles,  and  in  the  preface  to  my  first  volume  Dupont  de 
Nemours,  "physiocrat"  and  accomplished  gentleman,  was 
invested  with  the  titular  dignity  of  the  dukes  of  Nemours, 
an  honour  which  neither  his  high  abilities  or  his  personal 
worth  required  to  secure  for  him  a  high  and  an  abiding  sta- 
tion in  the  file  of  mankind. 

Twenty  portraits  of  Franklin  have  appeared  hi  this  work. 
They  form  an  interesting  though  small  collection  of  his  many 
counterfeit  presentments.  After  Napoleon  and  Washington 
no  great  public  character  has  been  so  often  and  diversely 

PREFACE  xiii 

portrayed.  Not  less  than  six  hundred  portraits  of  him  exist. 
He  told  his  daughter  that  medallions  and  pictures,  busts  and 
prints,  had  made  her  father's  face  as  well  known  as  that  of 
the  moon,  so  that  he  durst  not  do  anything  that  would  oblige 
him  to  run  away,  as  his  phiz  would  discover  him  wherever 
he  should  venture  to  show  it.  He  added,  "it  is  said  by 
learned  etymologists  that  the  name  doll  for  the  images  chil- 
dren play  with,  is  derived  from  the  word  IDOL.  From  the 
number  of  dolls  now  made  of  him,  he  may  be  truly  said,  in 
that  sense  to  be  i-dott-ized  in  this  country."  And  yet  he  was 
reluctant  to  yield  to  the  solicitations  of  artists ;  he  told  Digges 
that  he  was  "perfectly  sick"  of  sitting  for  his  portrait,  and 
that  he  knew  nothing  so  tedious  as  sitting  for  hours  in  one 
fixed  position.  He  was  constantly  asked  for  his  portrait, 
and  in  reply  to  such  a  query  from  his  friend  Fournier,  he 
said  that  he  was  neither  so  rich  or  so  vain  as  to  pay  eight  or 
ten  louis  apiece  to  give  them  as  presents. 

His  own  favourites  were  the  portraits  made  by  Duplessis 
(Vol.  I)  and  Chamberlin  (Vol.  IV).  The  former  was  orig- 
inally painted  for  M.  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont;  numerous 
copies  of  it  exist,  one  of  which  was  purchased  by  Mr.  Bige- 
low  from  the  descendants  of  M.  le  Veillard.  The  Cham- 
berlin portrait  has  been  often  copied  and  has  suffered  many 
changes.  A  copy  of  it  was  prefixed  to  the  French  edition 
of  Franklin's  works  in  1773,  and  its  Gallic  features  caused 
Franklin  to  write  to  his  wife  that  "though  a  copy  of  that  of 
Chamberlin  [it]  has  got  so  French  a  countenance  that  you 
would  take  me  for  one  of  that  lively  nation." 

Caleb  Whitefoord,  who  himself  had  drawn  a  picture  of 
Franklin  which  the  subject  of  the  sketch  declared  was  "black 
nnd  all  black,"  gave  a  commission  in  1782  to  Joseph  Wright 



to  paint  a  portrait  which  he  presented  to  the  Royal  Society. 
This  portrait  was  lent  to  Benjamin  West  to  enable  him 
to  transfer  the  likeness  of  Franklin  to  the  large  canvas  upon 
which  he  was  painting  the  signing  of  the  preliminary  treaty 
of  peace. 

The  portrait  by  David  Martin,  which  is  the  frontispiece 
to  the  second  volume,  was  painted  in  London  when  Franklin 
was  about  sixty  years  of  age.  It  was  ordered  and  paid  for  by 
Robert  Alexander  of  the  house  of  William  Alexander  &  Sons 
of  Edinburgh.  After  the  death  of  Robert  it  descended  to 
his  brother  William,  whose  daughter  married  Jonathan 
Williams,  grand  nephew  of  Franklin.  It  is  now  in  the  pos- 
session of  Henry  Williams  Biddle,  Esq.,  of  Philadelphia. 
Franklin  was  so  well  satisfied  with  the  portrait  that  he  caused 
a  copy  to  be  made  by  the  same  artist  at  his  own  expense,  and 
it  was  sent  to  his  family  in  Philadelphia.  By  his  will  he 
bequeathed  it  to  the  Supreme  Executive  Council  of  Pennsyl- 
vania. A  copy  made  by  Charles  Willson  Peale  is  owned 
by  The  American  Philosophical  Society. 

The  portrait  of  greatest  historical  interest  is  that  which 
appears  as  the  frontispiece  to  this  volume.  It  was  painted 
by  Benjamin  Wilson  in  London  in  1759.  Its  history  is  ex- 
plained in  the  following  Correspondence,  which  was  read  by 
Hon.  Joseph  H.  Choate,  April  20,  1906,  at  the  American 
Academy  of  Music,  in  Philadelphia,  when  the  portrait  was 
first  shown  after  its  return  to  America. 

"OTTAWA,  February  7,  1906. 

"  MY  DEAR  MR.  PRESIDENT  :  The  fortune  of  war  and  the 
accident  of  inheritance  have  made  me  the  owner  of  the  por- 
trait of  Franklin  which  Major  Andre*  took  out  of  his  house 


in  Philadelphia  and  gave  to  his  Commanding  Officer,  my 
great  grandfather,  General  Sir  Charles  Grey.  This  portrait, 
which  Franklin  stated  was  'allowed  by  those  who  have  seen 
it  to  have  great  merit  as  a  picture  in  every  respect,'  has  for 
over  a  century  occupied  the  chief  place  of  honour  on  the  walls 
of  my  Northumbrian  home.  Mr.  Choate  has  suggested  to 
me  that  the  approaching  Franklin  Bicentennial  Celebration 
at  Philadelphia  on  April  20,  provides  a  fitting  opportunity 
for  restoring  to  the  American  people  a  picture  which  they 
will  be  glad  to  recover.  I  gladly  fall  hi  with  his  suggestion. 

"In  a  letter  from  Franklin  written  from  Philadelphia, 
October  23,  1788,  to  Madame  Lavoisier,  he  says:  'Our 
English  enemies  when  they  were  in  possession  of  this  city 
and  my  home,  made  a  prisoner  of  my  portrait  and  carried  it 
off  with  them.' 

"As  your  English  friend,  I  desire  to  give  my  prisoner,  after 
the  lapse  of  130  years,  his  liberty,  and  shall  be  obliged  if  you 
will  name  the  officer  into  whose  custody  you  wish  me  to 
deliver  him.  If  agreeable  to  you,  I  should  be  much  pleased 
if  he  should  find  a  final  resting-place  hi  the  White  House,  but 
I  leave  this  to  your  judgement. 

"I  remain  with  great  respect  and  in  all  friendship, 
"Yours  truly, 


"  WASHINGTON,  February  12,  1906. 

"  MY  DEAR  LORD  GREY  :  I  shall  send  up  an  officer  to  receive 
that  portrait,  and  I  cannot  sufficiently  thank  you  for  your 
thoughtful  and  generous  gift.  The  announcement  shall  be 
made  by  Mr.  Choate  at  the  tune  and  place  you  suggest.  I 
shall  then  formally  thank  you  for  your  great  and  thoughtful 


courtesy.  Meanwhile  let  me  say  privately  how  much  I  appre- 
ciate not  only  what  you  have  done,  but  the  spirit  in  which  you 
have  done  it,  and  the  way  in  which  the  manner  of  doing  it  adds 
to  the  generosity  of  the  gift  itself.  I  shall  have  placed  on  the 
portrait,  which  shall,  of  course,  be  kept  at  the  White  House  as 
you  desire,  the  circumstances  of  its  taking  and  return.  With 

heartiest  regard, 

"  Sincerely  yours, 


When  Sir  Edward  Newenham  obtained  a  bust  of  Franklin, 
the  court  papers  said  it  was  really  a  bust  of  Lord  Chancellor 
Newport,  for  it  was  well  known  that  Franklin  was  too  poor 
to  sit  for  a  bust.  Upon  the  continent  the  truth  was  better 
known,  and  Houdon  and  Caffieri  had  chiselled  in  marble 
the  features  of  Franklin.  Gustavus  III,  while  dwelling 
incognito  in  Paris  as  Count  de  Haga,  purchased  a  bust  to 
take  to  Sweden  to  place  beside  the  busts  of  Diderot  and 
d'Alembert.  From  the  clay  of  the  Chaumont  estate  upon  the 
Loire,  an  odd  looking,  dwarfish  Italian,  Nini  by  name,  made 
medallions,  the  first  of  the  kind  produced  hi  France,  of  which 
incredible  numbers  were  sold.  Some  were  set  in  the  lids  of 
snuff-boxes,  some  were  so  small  as  to  be  worn  in  rings.  The 
Empress  Catherine,  of  Russia,  procured  one  of  the  largest 
size  to  place  in  the  palace  at  St.  Petersburg. 

I  must  draw  attention  here  to  the  exceedingly  interesting 
statuette,  two  views  of  which  are  given  in  Volume  V.  It  was 
commended  to  the  attention  of  Mr.  Bigelow  by  its  possessor, 
Madame  Gue'rin  de  Vaux.  Her  father,  M.  Fournier  des 
Orvres,  was  the  great  grandson  of  Fournier  le  Jeune,  printer 
and  type  founder.  In  her  letter  to  Mr.  Bigelow  she  wrote 
(March  10,  1904):  "Fournier  le  Jeune  was  very  intimate 

PREFACE  xvif 

with  Franklin.  At  the  time  of  my  birth,  there  still  existed 
letters  which  they  had  exchanged  and  particularly  the  one 
which  had  accompanied  the  sending  of  the  statue.  Unhap- 
pily they  have  been  lost  since  and  I  am  sorry  to  be  unable  to 
send  you  any  written  proof  of  their  relations.  Other  repro- 
ductions of  the  statue  possibly  exist  as  I  know  for  certain  that 
some  statues  of  the  same  kind  have  been  sometimes  made  — 
several  in  number.  I  know  indeed  two  statuettes  of  Voltaire 
of  the  same  type  and  which  are  like  each  other.  [M.  d'Alle- 
magne's  collection  and  Muse*e  Carnavalet  in  Paris.]  These 
statues  are  made  of  a  white  paste,  gesso,  or  other  composi- 
tion ;  they  have  been  moulded  and  painted.  The  hair  of  the 
one  we  possess  is  certainly  real  hair  of  the  great  Franklin, 
which  has  been  stuck ;  the  letter  I  named  before  mentioned 
it.  The  connoisseur  M.  d'Allemagne  declares  them  of 
German  workmanship."  Upon  merely  circumstantial  evi- 
dence Mr.  Bigelow  is  disposed  to  ascribe  the  statuette  to 
Jean  Baptiste  Nini. 

The  bust  reproduced  as  the  frontispiece  of  the  third  volume 
is  there  erroneously  said  to  be  by  Houdon.  It  was  really 
the  work  of  Jean  Jacques  Caffieri,  who  sculptured  the  statue 
of  St.  Satyre  and  made  the  monument  of  General  Montgom- 
ery, now  in  St.  Paul's  Church,  New  York.  Because  he  had 
made  gratuitously  a  bust  of  Franklin  he  founded  thereon  his 
presumption  to  be  employed  by  Congress  to  execute  a  statue 
of  General  Washington.  One  of  his  busts  of  Franklin  was 
given  to  Sir  Edward  Newenham,  another  to  M.  Le  Roy,  and 
one  was  taken  to  Spain  by  Carmichael.  Houdon  also  made 
his  bust  of  Franklin  gratuitously  and  sent  Franklin  four  copies 
in  plaster.  In  a  rather  testy  correspondence  with  W.  T. 
Franklin,  Caffieri  declared  that  if  Houdon  had  preceded  him 

xviii  PREFACE 

he  would  have  had  delicacy  about  working  after  him,  and  he 
censured  the  Franklins  for  allowing  Houdon  to  make  a  bust 
after  the  success  that  had  crowned  Caffieri's  endeavour.  It  has 
frequently  been  said  that  the  Cameri  bust  was  the  work  of 
Ceracchi.  But  Franklin's  acquaintance  with  Ceracchi,  who 
was  but  twenty-four  years  old  when  Franklin  left  France, 
was  confined  to  a  brief  correspondence  with  Ingenhousz, 
who,  on  behalf  of  Count  Lacy,  a  great  favourite  of  the  Aus- 
trian Emperor,  had  written  to  Franklin  to  ask  whether  it 
would  be  wise  for  Ceracchi  to  visit  America  to  seek  em- 
ployment hi  making  monuments. 

I  have  already  in  this  preface  referred  to  an  interesting 
incident  in  which  a  bust  of  Franklin  played  a  part  during 
the  French  Revolution.  Another  episode  of  1793  is  told  by 
Haliday  in  a  letter  to  Lord  Charlemont.  A  riot  had  taken 
place  in  Belfast,  and  his  Majesty's  Light  Dragoons,  according 
to  the  writer,  had  run  amuck :  "Had  they  confined  themselves 
to  their  less  heroic  feats  of  breaking  windows  and  pulling 
down  signs  —  heads  which  were  much  respected  by  all  but 
slaves  and  tyrants  when  they  were  put  up  and  that  in  such 
obscure  corners  that  scarcely  any  of  us  had  ever  heard  that 
such  things  were  —  it  might  have  been  endured.  Mirabeau 
and  Dumourier  fell,  but  the  venerable  Franklin,  from  his 
greater  elevation,  and  being  well  fortified  with  'robur  et  aes 
triplex'  baffled  their  gallant  efforts."  (Hist.  Mss.  Comm. 
13  Rep.  App.  Pt.  VIII.) 

Besides  paintings  and  busts  and  prints  numerous  minia- 
tures enrich  public  and  private  collections.  One  superb 
example  of  the  art  —  the  work  of  J.  S.  Duplessis  —  has 
descended  through  a  daughter  of  Sarah  Bache  to  its  present 
possessor  in  Philadelphia.  Jeremiah  Meyer  undertook  to 


make  a  minature,  but  his  dilatoriness  elicited  from  Franklin 
the  following  hitherto  unpublished  note,  the  irony  of  which 
must  be  my  excuse  for  printing  it  in  this  place. 

"Dr.  Franklin  presents  his  compliments  to  Mr.  Meyer, 
and  prays  him  not  to  detain  any  longer  the  Picture  from 
which  he  was  to  make  a  miniature  but  return  it  by  the  Bearer. 
Hopes  Mr.  Meyer  will  not  think  him  impatient  as  he  has 
waited  full  five  years  and  seen  many  of  his  Acquaintance 
tho'  applying  later,  serv'd  before  him.  Wishes  Mr.  Meyer 
not  to  give  himself  the  Trouble  of  making  any  more  Apolo- 
gies or  to  feel  the  least  Pain  on  Ace*  of  his  disappointing 
Dr.  Franklin  who  assures  him,  he  never  was  disappointed 
by  him  but  once,  not  having  for  several  Years  past  since  he 
has  known  the  Character  of  his  Veracity,  had  the  smallest 
dependance  upon  it." 

And  now  when  I  should  take  leave  of  my  task  I  linger  re- 
luctant to  speak  a  final  farewell  until  I  shall  have  added  a 
word  of  comment  upon  the  character  of  the  man  whose  monu- 
ment has  here  been  built.  His  praise  has  indeed  been  spoken 
widely  and  warmly  in  the  twelvemonth  just  completed,  but 
the  voice  of  detraction  and  of  harsh  censure  has  not  been 
altogether  silenced.  The  fulness  of  praise  is  still  in  many 
places  and  in  many  ways  withheld  from  him.  In  Phila- 
delphia, the  city  of  his  second  birth,  an  hereditary  hostility, 
derived  unconsciously  from  the  ancient  proprietary  feud, 
still  exists,  and  opposes  to  the  fame  of  Franklin  an  attitude 
of  serious  censure  or  contemptuous  indifference.  In  Eng- 
land he  is  classified  with  those  politicians  who  are  merely 
"smart"  —  obtuse  of  conscience  and  wily  to  the  verge  of 
chicane.  His  moral  lapses  have  been  eagerly  exaggerated 


and  relentlessly  condemned,  though  they  were  freely  confessed 
and  fully  regretted  by  him.  His  autobiography  has  been 
styled  the  history  of  a  rogue.  Lewdness,  irreligion,  and 
sophistry  are  unsparingly  ascribed  to  him.  His  faults  were 
with  few  exceptions  such  as  are  "companions  noted  and  most 
known  to  youth  and  liberty."  He  frankly  acknowledged  them 
and  set  forth  a  deep  repentance.  He  begot  one  illegitimate 
child,  whom  he  acknowledged  and  educated,  and  for  whom 
he  did  everything  that  love  and  duty  could  perform.  When 
that  son  repeated  the  parental  fault  and  begat  a  bastard  son 
in  England,  Franklin  obliged  him  to  rear  his  child  with  the 
same  wise  care  and  affection,  nor  would  he  tolerate  his 
introduction  in  America  under  a  false  or  foreign  name. 

In  a  letter  to  Ezra  Stiles,  another  to  Madame  Brillon,  and 
a  third  to  Joseph  Huey,  he  has  professed  with  characteristic 
clearness  beliefs  that  could  only  belong  to  a  reverent  and 
religious  mind.  His  creed  was  simple  and  steadfast.  He 
believed  in  God  and  that  he  should  be  worshipped ;  he  held 
unfaltering  faith  in  immortality;  and  in  the  conduct  of  life 
he  advised  the  imitation  of  Jesus  and  Socrates.  "I  look 
upon  death,"  he  wrote  to  George  Whatley,  "to  be  as  neces- 
sary to  our  constitution  as  sleep.  We  shall  rise  refreshed  in 
the  morning." 

Throughout  his  life  his  burdens  were  heavy,  his  anxieties 
often  distressing,  and  he  suffered  much  pain.  He  retained, 
however,  a  cheerful  temper,  for  his  habitual  mood  was  kindly 
and  tolerant.  Bad  temper,  he  was  wont  to  say,  is  the  unclean- 
liness  of  the  mind.  He  had  a  talent  for  happiness,  and  he 
told  Nicholas  Collin  that  all  the  griefs  and  sufferings  of  this 
world  are  but  as  the  momentary  pricking  of  a  pin  in  com- 
parison with  the  total  happiness  of  our  existence. 


He  was  not  one  of  the  pure  and  high  spirits  who  lead  the 
life  of  the  soul  and  by  lustrous  example  allure  mankind  to 
lofty  lives.  He  pursued  the  objects  of  ambition  upon  a 
lower  level.  He  was  a  companionable  philosopher  whose 
feet  were  always  well  poised  upon  the  substantial  earth,  and 
whose  eyes  rested  upon  practical  material  advantages.  His 
ideal  was  a  life  of  thrift,  husbandry,  comfort,  worldly  cau- 
tion and  rational  enjoyment.  Yet  he  had  his  large  visions, 
too,  of  growth  and  expansion  and  power.  He  zealously  fed 
and  trimmed  the  guiding  lamps  that  shed  their  beams  upon 
the  dark  and  dangerous  ways  upon  which  the  young  Repub- 
lic began  its  tremendous  career.  He  listened  to  the  tread 
of  the  coming  generations,  and  rejoiced  to  see  "how  grows 
the  day  of  human  power."  No  disaster  or  depression  could 
shake  his  firm  faith  in  the  vast  future  of  America.  The  whole 
continent  was  his  colonial  home.  "  What  is  your  occupation  ?  " 
was  the  question  asked  of  him  at  his  examination  before  the 
House  of  Commons.  He  replied,  "I  am  deputy  postmaster 
general  of  North  America"  When  in  desperate  straits  for 
money,  alarmed  and  dismayed  by  the  unceasing  drafts  of 
Congress,  and  the  ever  present  dread  of  the  collapse  of  all 
American  credit,  he  was  told  that  Spain  would  lend  money 
on  condition  that  America  should  agree  to  remain  within 
the  Alleghany  Mountains,  he  exclaimed  in  sudden  anger, 
and  with  prophetic  fire:  "Poor  as  we  are,  yet  as  I  know  we 
shall  be  rich  I  would  rather  agree  with  them  to  buy  at  a  great 
price  the  whole  of  their  right  in  the  Mississippi  than  sell  a 
drop  of  its  waters.  A  neighbour  might  as  well  ask  me  to 
sell  my  street  door!" 

He  loved  England,  and  his  dearest  friends  were  in  Great 
Britain,  but  there  seems  never  to  have  been  absent  from  his 



mind  a  sense  of  the  latent  might  of  the  colonies,  and  a  vision 
of  the  giant  things  to  come  at  large  and  the  inevitable  shift- 
ing of  the  seat  and  centre  of  power  to  the  western  shore  of  the 
Atlantic.  When  his  life  was  drawing  to  its  painful  end,  he 
looked  upon  the  portentous  events  then  happening  about 
him  —  the  framing  and  adoption  of  a  Constitution  and  the 
creation  of  the  first  machinery  of  government  —  and  uttered 
warnings  which  deserve  the  serious  attention  of  his  country- 
men in  the  second  century  after  his  death.  More  than  once 
he  declared  that  the  chief  peril  he  saw  in  America  arose  not 
from  an  excess  of  authority  in  the  governors,  but  from  a 
deficiency  of  obedience  in  the  governed.  He  saw  also,  as  he 
thought,  a  disposition  to  commence  an  aristocracy,  by  giving 
the  rich  a  predominance  in  government,  and  he  besought  his 
countrymen  to  beware  of  the  perils  of  luxury  and  the  menace 
of  inordinate  wealth. 

In  nothing  did  he  show  his  typical  American  character 
more  clearly  than  in  his  power  of  prompt  assimilation  of  new 
ideas  and  ready  adaptation  to  novel  circumstances.  He  was 
a  man  of  the  frontier,  with  all  the  resourcefulness  and  hardi- 
ness of  the  pioneer.  He  was  free  of  sectarianism  and  of 
sectionalism.  Unfettered  by  provincial  limitations,  he  was 
capable  of  entering  with  alacrity  into  a  new  orbit.  Sainte 
Beuve  declared  him  to  be  the  most  French  of  all  Americans. 
It  is  a  remarkable  illustration  of  his  extraordinary  mobility  of 
mind.  But  while  he  was  sensitive  to  each  breath  and  wind 
of  change  and  progress,  he  stood  firmly  by  institutions  and 
methods  authenticated  by  history  and  whose  worth  was  proved 
by  ripe  and  safe  experience.  He  shared  Burke's  detestation 
of  innovations  that  recklessly  uprooted  what  was  old,  and 
wrought  destructions  in  the  name  of  reform.  "Purify  with- 

PREFACE  xxiii 

out  destroying"  was  his  oft-repeated  political  maxim,  which 
might  well  have  been  a  motto  for  the  library  of  Edmund 

A  few  months  before  his  death  he  referred  to  new  and 
dangerous  theories  that  seemed  to  be  entering  the  State,  and 
said,  "I  hope  that  our  representatives  in  the  Convention 
will  not  hastily  go  into  these  Innovations,  but  take  the  advice 
of  the  Prophet,  '  Stand  in  the  old  ways,  view  the  ancient  Paths, 
consider  them  well,  and  be  not  among  those  that  are  given  to 

When  he  was  fifty  years  old  he  wrote  to  George  Whitefield : 
"Life  like  a  dramatic  Piece  should  not  only  be  conducted 
with  Regularity,  but  methinks  it  should  finish  handsomely. 
Being  now  in  the  last  Act  I  begin  to  cast  about  for 
something  fit  to  end  with.  Or  if  mine  be  more  properly 
compar'd  to  an  Epigram,  as  some  of  its  few  lines  are  but 
barely  tolerable,  I  am  very  desirous  of  concluding  with  a 
bright  point."  Thirty-four  years  of  busy  life  were  still  be- 
fore him  when  he  wrote  those  words.  Great  honours  and 
blessings  were  hi  store  for  him.  But  the  "brightest  points" 
in  the  brilliant  epigram  of  his  life  are  those  that  tell  of  his 
supreme  devotion  to  the  welfare  of  his  country.  He  aban- 
doned cherished  ambitipns  and  sacrificed  personal  ease  to 
bear  the  burdens  of  a  nation.  Twice  he  braved  personal  ruin 
and  risked  his  entire  fortune  at  critical  moments  of  his  coun- 
try's history.  He  became  personally  responsible  to  the  farm- 
ers of  Pennsylvania  and  Maryland  to  recompense  them  for 
their  horses  and  wagons  when  they  declined  to  accept  the 
security  of.  Braddock.  And  in  later  years  he  pledged  himself 
to  pay  for  all  the  tea  destroyed  in  Boston  Harbour  if  the  gov- 
ernment of  England  would  but  subscribe  to  suitable  terms 

xxiv  PREFACE 

of  reconciliation  with  the  colonies.  When  he  left  America  to 
enter  upon  his  service  as  commissioner  in  France,  the  rumour 
was  rife  in  England  that  he  had  deserted  a  forlorn  cause.  His 
malicious  critics  had  grossly  misread  the  character  of  the 
man  whose  last  act  upon  quitting  the  home  that  he  might 
never  see  again  was  to  lend  to  the  Congress  his  entire  avail- 
able fortune,  between  three  and  four  thousand  pounds. 

It  is  a  pleasure  to  add  to  the  list  of  those  to  whom  at  the 
beginning  of  this  work  I  confessed  my  obligations  the  name 
of  M.  Lionel  de  Crevecceur,  who  generously  brought  to  me  hi 
Paris  a  large  and  interesting  collection  of  private  papers  be- 
longing to  his  great  grandfather  Michel  Guillaume  Jean  de 
Crevecceur.  I  am  also  deeply  indebted  to  Dr.  John  L.  Haney 
and  Mr.  Howard  C.  Myers,  who  have  assisted  me  hi  the  read- 
ing of  proofs,  and  to  Mr.  Raymond  M.  Fulforth,  who  has 
helped  in  the  preparation  of  the  index. 

A.  H.  S. 

JANUARY  29,  1907. 




1756.  To  Alexander  Small.     February  17,  1789  I 

1757.  To  Mrs.  Catherine  Greene.     March  2,  1789       ...  3 

1758.  To  Miss  Catherine  Louisa  Shipley.     April  27,  1789   .         .  4 

1759.  To  Comte  de  Moustier.     April  27,  1789     ....  5 

1760.  To  Charles  Carroll.     May  25,  1789 7 

1761.  To  Philip  Kinsey.     May  25,  1789      .        .        .     ,    ,  -»    .  7 

1762.  To  Richard  Price.     May  31,  1789 8 

1763.  Observations   relative  to   the  Intentions   of  the   original 

Founders  of  the  Academy  in  Philadelphia.     June,  1789  .  9 

1764.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     June  3,  1789       .         .     >»,    ••   .  32 

1765.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     August  3,  1789      .        ,  ?.-!••;•"»   •  33 

1766.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.     September  5,  1789     .     •   .       .4..-      .  34 

1767.  An  Account  of  the  Supremest  Court  of  Judicature  in  Penn- 

sylvania, viz.  the  Court  of  the  Press.     September  12, 

1789 "       •  36 

1768.  To  George  Washington.     September  16,  1789  ...  41 

1769.  To  Comte  de  Montmorin.     September  21,  1789         ...  ;    .  42 

1770.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     October  19,  1789  ....  43 

1771.  To  "Sylvanus  Urban  Esq."   [D.  Henry].     October  20, 

1789 43 

1772.  To  Jonathan  Williams.     October  26,  1789     \  ...  j-,?  .     '  .  44 

1773.  To  William  Alexander.     October  26,  1789         ...  45 

1774.  To  Donatien  Le  Rayde  Chaumont,  Fils.     October  31, 1789  46 

1775.  To  Robert  Morris.     November  2,  1789      ....  48 

1776.  To  James  Logan.     November  2,  1789        ....  49 

1777.  To  Benjamin  Vaughan.     November  2,  1789       ...  49 

1778.  Queries  and  Remarks  respecting  Alterations  in  the  Consti- 

tution of  Pennsylvania.     November,  1 789        ...  54 

1779.  To  John  Wright.     November  4,  1789         ....  60 

1780.  To  Samuel  Moore.     November  5,  1789      ....  63 



1781.  To  Alexander  Small.     November  5,  1789  .         ...  64 

1782.  An  Address  to  the  Public;  from  the  Pennsylvania  Society 

for  promoting  the  Abolition  of  Slavery,  and  the  Relief  of 
Free  Negroes  unlawfully  held  in  Bondage.     November 

9,  1789  ......                 ...  66 

1783.  To  Jean  Baptiste  Le  Roy.     November  13,  1789          .         .  68 

1784.  To  M.  Le  Veillard.     November  13,  1789   ....  69 

1785.  To  Donatien  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont.     November  14,  1789  .  70 

1786.  To  David  Hartley.     December  4,  1789      ....  72 

1787.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     December  17,  1789       ...  73 

1788.  To  -  .     December  19,  1789   ......  74 

1789.  To  Miles  Merwin.     December  21,  1789      ....  75 

1790.  To  Noah  Webster.     December  26,  1789    ....  75 

1791.  To  -  .     January  19,  1790       ......  82 

1792.  To  Ezra  Stiles.     March  9,  1790         .....  83 

1793.  To  Francis  Childs.     March  10,  1790          ....  86 

1794.  On  the  Slave  Trade.     March  23,  1790        ....  86 

1795.  To  Mrs.  Jane  Mecom.     March  24,  1790     ....  91 

1796.  To  Thomas  Jefferson.     April  8,  1790          ....  92 

1797.  Remarks  concerning  the  Savages  of  North  America.     1784?  97 

1798.  The  Retort  Courteous.     April,  1786?         .         .         .         .105 

1799.  The  Internal  State  of  America;  being  a  True  Description 

of  the  Interest  and  Policy  of  that  Vast  Continent    .         .116 

1800.  Conte        .  ;  ••;  ;  •       ........  123 

1801.  An  Arabian  Tale       ........  123 

1802.  A  Petition  of  the  Left  Hand,  To  those  who  have  the  Super- 

intendency  of  Education         .....         .125 

1803.  Hints  for  Consideration  respecting  the  Orphan  School- 

House  in  Philadelphia    .......  126 

1804.  Plan  for  improving  the  Condition  of  the  Free  Blacks           .  127 

1805.  Some  Good  Whig  Principles      ......  130 

1806.  The  Art  of  Procuring  Pleasant  Dreams.     1786?         .         .  131 



I.     Origin  and  Early  Struggles 141 

II.     Postmaster  and  Assemblyman 172 

III.     Acquaintance  with  England 196 




IV.  The  Stamp  Act 221 

V.  The  Scene  in  the  Cockpit 240 

VI.  Plans  of  Conciliation 272 

VII.  Plenipotentiary  to  France 300 

VIII.  Vast  European  Fame 328 

IX.  Financing  the  Revolution 364 

X.  The  Treaty  of  Peace         . 388 

XI.     Social  Life  in  France 


XII.  Return  to  America 456 

XIII.  Last  Will  and  Testament 493 






A.  P.  S American  Philosophical  Society. 

B.  M British  Museum. 

B.  N Bibliotheque  Nationale. 

D.  S.  W Department  of  State,  Washington. 

H Harvard  University. 

L.  C Library  of  Congress. 

L.  L Lenox  Library. 

Lans Lansdowne  House. 

M.H.S Massachusetts  Historical  Society. 

P.  C Private  Collection. 

P.  H.  S Pennsylvania  Historical  Society. 

P.  R.  O Public  Record  Office. 

P.  R.  O.  A.  W.  I Public  Record  Office :  America  and 

West  Indies. 
P.  A.  E.  E.  U Paris    Departement    des    Affaires 

Etrangeres,  —  Etats-Unis. 

U.  of  P University  of  Pennsylvania. 

Y Yale  University. 

B Bigelow. 

F Benjamin  Franklin. 

S Sparks. 

V Benjamin  Vaughan. 

W.  T.  F W.  T.  Franklin. 

Franklin's  Mss.  exist  in  several  forms.  He  made  a  rough  draft  of 
every  letter  that  he  wrote ;  he  then  made  a  clean  copy  to  send  away,  and 
often  retained  a  letter-press  copy.  To  indicate  the  state  of  the  docu- 
ment, the  following  abbreviations  are  used:  d.  =  draft,  trans.  =  transcript, 
1.  p.  =  letter-press  copy. 

1756.    TO   ALEXANDER  SMALL1 

Philadelphia,  February  17, 1789. 


I  have  just  received  your  kind  letter  of  November  29th,2  and 
am  much  obliged  by  your  friendly  attention  in  sending  me  the 
receipt,  which  on  occasion  I  may  make  trial  of ;  but  the  stone 
I  have  being  a  large  one,  as  I  find  by  the  weight  it  falls  with 
when  I  turn  in  bed,  I  have  no  hope  of  its  being  dissoluble 
by  any  medicine ;  and  having  been  for  some  time  past  pretty 
free  from  pain,  I  am  afraid  of  tampering.  I  congratulate  you 
on  the  escape  you  had  by  avoiding  the  one  you  mention,  that 
was  as  big  as  a  kidney  bean ;  had  it  been  retained,  it  might 
soon  have  become  too  large  to  pass,  and  proved  the  cause  of 
much  pain  at  times,  as  mine  has  been  to  me. 

Having  served  my  time  of  three  years  as  president,  I  have 
now  renounced  all  public  business,  and  enjoy  the  otium  cum 
dignitate.  My  friends  indulge  me  with  their  frequent  visits, 
which  I  have  now  leisure  to  receive  and  enjoy.  The  Philo- 
sophical Society,  and  the  Society  for  Political  Inquiries,  meet 
at  my  house,  which  I  have  enlarged  by  additional  building, 
that  affords  me  a  large  room  for  those  meetings,  another  over 
it  for  my  library  now  very  considerable,  and  over  all  some 
lodging  rooms.  I  have  seven  promising  grandchildren  by  my 

1  Printed  from  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  246.     Dated  February  19,  by  Bigelow.  —  ED. 

2  In  A.  P.  S.  —  ED. 

VOL.  X — B  I 


daughter,  who  play  with  and  amuse  me,  and  she  is  a  kind 
attentive  nurse  to  me  when  I  am  at  any  tune  indisposed ;  so 
that  I  pass  my  time  as  agreeably  as  at  my  age  a  man  may 
well  expect,  and  have  little  to  wish  for,  except  a  more  easy 
exit  than  my  malady  seems  to  threaten. 

The  deafness  you  complain  of  gives  me  concern,  as  if  great 
it  must  dimmish  considerably  your  pleasure  in  conversation. 
If  moderate,  you  may  remedy  it  easily  and  readily,  by  putting 
your  thumb  and  fingers  behind  your  ear,  pressing  it  outwards, 
and  enlarging  it,  as  it  were,  with  the  hollow  of  your  hand. 
By  an  exact  experiment  I  found,  that  I  could  hear  the  tick  of  a 
watch  at  forty-five  feet  distance  by  this  means,  which  was 
barely  audible  at  twenty  feet  without  it.  The  experiment 
was  made  at  midnight  when  the  house  was  still. 

I  am  glad  you  have  sent  those  directions  respecting  ven- 
tilation to  the  Edinburgh  Society.  I  hope  you  have  added 
an  account  of  the  experience  you  had  of  it  at  Minorca.  If 
they  do  not  print  your  paper,  send  it  to  me,  and  it  shall  be 
in  the  third  volume,  which  we  are  about  to  publish  of  our 

Mrs.  Hewson  joins  with  us  in  best  wishes  for  your  health 
and  happiness.  Her  eldest  son  has  gone  through  his  studies 
at  our  college,  and  taken  his  degree.  The  youngest  is  still 
there,  and  will  be  graduated  this  summer.  My  grandson 
presents  his  respects ;  and  I  am  ever,  my  dear  friend,  yours 

most  affectionately, 


P.  S.  You  never  mention  the  receipt  of  any  letters  from 
me.  I  wish  to  know  if  they  come  to  hand,  particularly  my 
last  enclosing  the  Apologue.  You  mention  some  of  my  old 
friends  being  dead,  but  not  their  names. 


1757.    TO   MRS.   CATHERINE   GREENE1 

Philadelphia,  March  2,  1789. 


Having  now  done  with  public  affairs,  which  have  hitherto 
taken  up  so  much  of  my  time,  I  shall  endeavour  to  enjoy, 
during  the  small  remainder  of  life  that  is  left  to  me,  some  of 
the  pleasures  of  conversing  with  my  old  friends  by  writing, 
since  their  distance  prevents  my  hope  of  seeing  them  again. 

I  received  one  of  the  bags  of  sweet  corn  you  were  so  good 
as  to  send  me  a  long  time  since,  but  the  other  never  came  to 
hand.  Even  the  letter  mentioning  it,  though  dated  December 
loth,  1787^  has  been  above  a  year  on  its  way;  for  I  received 
it  but  about  two  weeks  since  from  Baltimore  in  Maryland. 
The  corn  I  did  receive  was  excellent,  and  gave  me  great  pleas- 
ure. Accept  my  hearty  thanks. 

I  am,  as  you  suppose  in  the  abovementioned  old  letter, 
much  pleased  to  hear,  that  my  young  friend  Ray  is  "smart 
hi  the  farming  way,"  and  makes  such  substantial  fences. 
I  think  agriculture  the  most  honourable  of  all  employments, 
being  the  most  independent.  The  farmer  has  no  need  of 
popular  favour,  nor  the  favour  of  the  great;  the  success  of 
his  crops  depending  only  on  the  blessing  of  God  upon  his 
honest  industry.  I  congratulate  your  good  spouse,  that  he, 
as  well  as  myself,  is  now  free  from  public  cares,  and  that  he 
can  bend  his  whole  attention  to  his  farming,  which  will  afford 
him  both  profit  and  pleasure ;  a  business  which  nobody  knows 
better  how  to  manage  with  advantage. 

1  From  "The   Private  Correspondence   of  Benjamin   Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  248.  — ED. 

2  In  A.  P.  S.  — ED. 


I  am  too  old  to  follow  printing  again  myself,  but,  loving  the 
business,  I  have  brought  up  my  grandson  Benjamin  to  it, 
and  have  built  and  furnished  a  printing-house  for  him,  which 
he  now  manages  under  my  eye.  I  have  great  pleasure  in  the 
rest  of  my  grandchildren,  who  are  now  in  number  eight,  and 
all  promising,  the  youngest  only  six  months  old,  but  shows 
signs  of  great  good  nature.  My  friends  here  are  numerous, 
and  I  enjoy  as  much  of  their  conversation  as  I  can  reasonably 
wish;  and  I  have  as  much  health  and  cheerfulness,  as  can 
well  be  expected  at  my  age,  now  eighty-three.  Hitherto  this 
long  life  has  been  tolerably  happy ;  so  that,  if  I  were  allowed 
to  live  it  over  again,  I  should  make  no  objection,  only  wishing 
for  leave  to  do,  what  authors  do  in  a  second  edition  of  their 
works,  correct  some  of  my  errata.  Among  the  felicities  of 
my  life  I  reckon  your  friendship,  which  I  shall  remember  with 
pleasure  as  long  as  that  life  lasts,  being  ever,  my  dear  friend 

yours  most  affectionately, 



Philadelphia,  April  27,  1789. 

IT  is  only  a  few  days  since  the  kind  letter  of  my  dear  young 
friend,  dated  December  24th,  came  to  my  hands.  I  had 
before,  in  the  public  papers,  met  with  the  afflicting  news  that 
letter  contained.  That  excellent  man  has  then  left  us !  His 
departure  is  a  loss,  not  to  his  family  and  friends  only,  but  to 
his  nation,  and  to  the  world ;  for  he  was  intent  on  doing  good, 
had  wisdom  to  devise  the  means,  and  talents  to  promote  them. 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  249.  —  ED. 

1789]  TO  COMTE  DE  MOUSTIER  5 

His  "Sermon  before  the  Society  for  Propagating  the  Gospel," 
and  his  "Speech  intended  to  have  been  spoken,"  *  are  proofs 
of  his  ability  as  well  as  his  humanity.  Had  his  counsels  hi 
those  pieces  been  attended  to  by  the  ministers,  how  much 
bloodshed  might  have  been  prevented,  and  how  much  expense 
and  disgrace  to  the  nation  avoided ! 

Your  reflections  on  the  constant  calmness  and  composure 
attending  his  death  are  very  sensible.  Such  instances  seem 
to  show,  that  the  good  sometimes  enjoy  in  dying  a  foretaste  of 
the  happy  state  they  are  about  to  enter. 

According  to  the  course  of  years,  I  should  have  quitted 
this  world  long  before  him.  I  shall  however  not  be  long  hi 
following.  I  am  now  in  my  eighty-fourth  year,  and  the  last 
year  has  considerably  enfeebled  me ;  so  that  I  hardly  expect 
to  remain  another.  You  will  then,  my  dear  friend,  consider 
this  as  probably  the  last  line  to  be  received  from  me,  and  as  a 
taking  leave.  Present  my  best  and  most  sincere  respects  to 
your  good  mother,  and  love  to  the  rest  of  the  family,  to  whom 
I  wish  all  happiness ;  and  believe  me  to  be,  while  I  do  live, 
yours  most  affectionately, 


1759.    TO   COMTE   DE   MOUSTIER2      (L.C.) 

Philad*  April  27,  1789. 


I  received  the  Honour  of  your  Letter  dated  the  i2th  of 
March,  when  I  lay  very  ill  of  my  painful  Distemper,  which 
rendered  me  incapable  of  writing.  The  Letter  yours  enclos'd 

1  See  Introduction,  Vol.  I,  p.  165.  —  ED. 

2  Elenore  Francois    Elie,  Comte    de    Moustier,  French  Minister  to  the 
United  States.  — ED. 


related  to  an  Affair  between  a  Mr.  Thomas  of  Paris,  &  Mess" 
Bache  and  Thee  [?].  I  communicated  it  to  Mr.  Bache  who 
promis'd  to  examine  the  old  Papers  of  the  Partnership,  and 
write  to  Mr.  Thomas.  This  took  some  time,  but  he  has 
now  done  it,  and  will  give  you  a  Letter  for  that  Gentleman 
w**  I  presume  will  satisfy  him,  that  he  has  had  no  just  reason 
to  complain  of  those  Messieurs.  I  also  enclose  a  Letter  for 
Mr.  Thomas. 

I  regret  with  you  that  the  new  Congress  was  so  long  in  As- 
sembling. The  Season  of  the  Year  was  not  well  chosen  for 
their  Meeting,  &  the  uncommon  Length  of  the  Winter  made 
it  the  more  inconvenient.  But  this  could  hardly  excuse  the 
extreme  Neglect  of  some  of  the  Members,  who  not  being  far 
distant  might  have  attended  sooner,  and  whose  Absence  not 
only  prevented  the  public  Business  from  being  forwarded, 
but  put  those  States,  whose  Members  attended  punctually, 
to  a  vast  Expence  which  answered  no  purpose.  I  hope 
however  that  now  they  are  assembled  the  Wisdom  of  their 
Council  will  repair  what  has  been  amiss,  promote  effectually 
our  national  Interests,  and  do  honour  to  their  own  Characters. 

My  best  Wishes  also  Attend  the  Deliberation  of  your  great 
Council  the  States  General  of  France,  which  meets  this  Day. 
God  grant  them  Temper  and  Harmony ;  Wisdom  they  must 
have  among  them  sufficient  if  Passions  will  suffer  it  to  operate. 
I  pray  sincerely  that  by  means  of  that  Assembly  the  public 
Interests  may  be  advanced  and  succeed,  and  the  future  Wel- 
fare and  Glory  of  the  French  Nation  be  firmly  established. 

I  have  the  honour  to  be,  with  sincere  and  great  Esteem  and 
Respect,  Sir, 

Your  Excellency's  most  obedient  &  most 

humble  Servant, 


1789]  TO  PHILIP  KINSEY  ^ 

1760.    TO    CHARLES    CARROLL1 

Philadelphia,  May  25,  1789. 


I  am  glad  to  see  by  the  papers,  that  our  grand  machine 
has  at  length  begun  to  work.  I  pray  God  to  bless  and  guide 
its  operations.  If  any  form  of  government  is  capable  of  mak- 
ing a  nation  happy,  ours  I  think  bids  fair  now  for  producing 
that  effect.  But,  after  all,  much  depends  upon  the  people 
who  are  to  be  governed.  We  have  been  guarding  against  an 
evil  that  old  States  are  most  liable  to,  excess  of  power  in  the 
rulers ;  but  our  present  danger  seems  to  be  defect  of  obedience 
in  the  subjects.  There  is  hope,  however,  from  the  enlight- 
ened state  of  this  age  and  country,  we  may  guard  effectually 
against  that  evil  as  well  as  the  rest. 

My  grandson,  William  Temple  Franklin,  will  have  the 
honour  of  presenting  this  line.  He  accompanied  me  to  France, 
and  remained  with  me  during  my  mission.  I  beg  leave  to 
recommend  him  to  your  notice,  and  that  you  would  believe 
me,  my  dear  friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 


1761.    TO    PHILIP   KINSEY         (A.  p.  s.) 

May  25,  1789. 

D*  FRANKLIN  presents  his  respectful  Compliments  to  M* 
Kinsey,  and  is  persuaded  there  is  some  Mistake  in  the  Sup- 

1  Mr.  Carroll  was  at  this  time  a  senator  in  Congress  from  Maryland.  The 
first  Congress  under  the  new  Constitution  had  recently  convened  in  New  York. 
In  March,  1776,  Dr.  Franklin  and  Mr.  Carroll  had  been  joint  commissioners, 
appointed  by  the  Continental  Congress  with  instructions  to  form  a  union 
between  the  Canadas  and  the  United  Colonies.  —  S. 

This  letter  is  printed  from  Sparks,  Vol.  X,  p.  392.  —  ED. 


position  that  the  Box  in  question  was  ever  lent  to  him,  his 
Memory  being  still  pretty  good,  and  it  affording  not  the  least 
Trace  of  any  such  Transaction.1 

1762.    TO    RICHARD   PRICE2  (L.  c.) 

Philad%  May  31,  1789. 

I  lately  received  your  kind  Letter,  inclosing  one  from  Miss 
Kitty  Shipley,  informing  me  of  the  good  Bishop's  Decease, 
which  afflicted  me  greatly.  My  Friends  drop  off  one  after 
another,  when  my  Age  and  Infirmities  prevent  my  making 
new  Ones;  &  if  I  still  retained  the  necessary  Activity  and 
Ability,  I  hardly  see  among  the  existing  Generation  where  I 
could  make  them  of  equal  Goodness:  So  that  the  longer  I 
live  I  must  expect  to  be  very  wretched.  As  we  draw  nearer 
the  Conclusion  of  Life,  Nature  furnishes  with  more  Helps  to 
wean  us  from  it,  among  which  one  of  the  most  powerful  is 
the  Loss  of  such  dear  Friends. 

1  Written  by  Franklin  on  the  back  of  the  following  letter  from  Kinsey : 
"  Philip  Kinseys  most  respectful  Compliments  to  Doctor  Franklin.     His 

Brother  James  Kinsey,  then  in  this  City,  more  than  thirty  Years  since,  lent  the 
Doctor  a  mahogany  Box  containing  sundry  geometrical  solid  Bodies,  being 
the  first  six  Books  of  Euclid's  Elements  formd  of  Box  Wood,  which  were 
never  returnd;  P.  K.  has  the  other  Box  containing  the  Figures  of  the  other 
six  Books,  both  which  cost  twenty  four  Guineas,  lately  recover'd  from  another 
Person  who  had  had  them  so  long  that  they  were  forgot,  if  that  which  the 
Doctor  borrow'd  can  be  obtaind  in  good  Order  which  he  hopes  may  be  done 
P.  K.  can  dispose  of  them  for  perhaps  as  much  Currency  as  they  cost  sterling, 
or  if  the  Doctor  would  like  to  have  them  the  other  Box  shall  be  sent  him. 
Enquiry  was  made  for  them  at  the  Doctors  House  during  his  first  Absence, 

but  his  Wife  &  Daughter  knew  nothing  of  them 

May  25th  Monday  4.  o'Clock."  —  ED. 

2  This  letter  is  written  in  lead  pencil,  as  are  most  of  the  later  letters  written 
by  Franklin.  —  ED. 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY         g 

I  send  you  with  this  the  two  Volumes  of  our  Transactions, 
as  I  forget  whether  you  had  the  first  before.  If  you  had, 
you  will  please  to  give  this  to  the  French  Ambassador,  re- 
questing his  Conveyance  of  it  to  the  good  Duke  de  la  Roche- 

My  best  Wishes  attend  you,  being  with  sincere  and  great 
Esteem,  my  dear  Friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 



OF   THE   ACADEMY   IN    PHILADELPHIA.      JUNE,  1789  (L.  C.) 

As  the  English  School  in  the  Academy  has  been,  and  still 
continues  to  be,  a  Subject  of  Dispute  and  Discussion  among 
the  Trustees  since  the  Restitution  of  the  Charter,  and  it  has 
been  propos'd  that  we  should  have  some  Regard  to  the 
original  Intention  of  the  Founders  hi  establishing  that  School, 
I  beg  leave  for  your  Information,  to  lay  before  you  what  I 
know  of  that  Matter  originally,  and  what  I  find  on  the 
Minutes  relating  to  it,  by  which  it  will  appear  how  far  the 
Design  of  that  School  has  been  adher'd  to  or  neglected. 

Having  acquir'd  some  little  Reputation  among  my  Fellow- 
Citizens,  by  projecting  the  Public  Library  in  1732,  and  ob- 
taining the  Subscriptions  by  which  it  was  establish'd,  and  by 
proposing  and  promoting  with  Success  sundry  other  Schemes 
of  Utility,  in  1749  I  was  encouraged  to  hazard  another 
Project,  that  of  a  Public  Education  for  our  Youth.  As  in 
the  Scheme  of  the  Library  I  had  provided  only  for  English 
Books,  so  in  this  new  Scheme  my  Ideas  went  no  farther  than  to 

jo         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

procure  the  Means  of  a  good  English  Education.  A  Number 
of  my  Friends,  to  whom  I  communicated  the  Proposal,  con- 
curr'd  with  me  in  these  Ideas ;  but  Mr.  Allen,  Mr.  Francis, 
Mr.  Peters,  and  some  other  Persons  of  Wealth  and  Learning, 
whose  Subscriptions  and  Countenance  we  should  need,  being 
of  Opinion  that  it  ought  to  include  the  learned  Languages,  I 
submitted  my  Judgment  to  theirs,  retaining  however  a  strong 
Prepossession  in  favour  of  my  first  Plan,  and  resolving  to 
preserve  as  much  of  it  as  I  could,  and  to  nourish  the  English 
School  by  every  Means  in  my  Power. 

Before  I  went  about  to  procure  Subscriptions,  I  thought 
it  proper  to  prepare  the  Minds  of  the  People  by  a  Pamphlet, 
which  I  wrote,  and  printed,  and  distributed  with  my  News- 
papers, gratis:  The  Title  was,  Proposals  relating  to  the 
Education  of  Youth  in  Pennsylvania.  I  happen  to  have 
preserv'd  one  of  them ;  and  by  reading  a  few  Passages  it  will 
appear  how  much  the  English  Learning  was  insisted  upon  in 
it ;  and  I  had  good  reason  to  know  that  this  was  a  prevailing 
Part  of  the  Motives  for  Subscribing  with  most  of  the  original 
Benefactors.1  I  met  with  but  few  Refusals  in  soliciting  the 
Subscriptions;  and  the  Sum  was  the  more  considerable,  as 
I  had  put  the  Contribution  on  this  footing  that  it  was  not  to 
be  immediate  and  the  whole  paid  at  once,  but  in  Parts,  a 
Fifth  annually  during  Five  Years.  To  put  the  Machine  in 

1  That  the  Rector  be  a  man  of  good  understanding,  good  morals,  diligent 
and  patient,  learned  in  the  languages  and  sciences,  and  a  correct,  pure  speaker 
and  writer  of  the  English  tongue  ;  to  have  such  tutors  under  him  as  shall  be 

The  English  language  might  be  taught  by  grammar  ;  in  which  some  of  our 
best  writers,  as  Tillotson,  Addison,  Pope,  Algernon  Sidney,  Cato's  Letters,  &c. 
should  be  classics  ;  the  styles  principally  to  be  cultivated  being  the  clear  and 
the  concise.  Reading  should  also  be  taught,  and  pronouncing  properly,  dis- 
tinctly, emphatically ;  not  with  an  even  tone,  which  under-does,  nor  a  theatri- 
cal, which  over-does  nature. 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY        \\ 

Motion,  Twenty-four  of  the  principal  Subscribers  agreed  to 
take  upon  themselves  the  Trust ;  and  a  Set  of  Constitutions 
for  their  Government,  and  for  the  Regulation  of  the  Schools 
were  drawn  up  by  Mr.  Francis  and  myself,  which  were  sign'd 
by  us  all,  and  printed,  that  the  Publick  might  know  what  was 
to  be  expected.  I  wrote  also  a  Paper,  entitled,  Idea,  of  an 
English  School,  which  was  printed,  and  afterwards  annex'd 
to  Mr.  Peters'  Sermon,  preach'd  at  the  opening  of  the  Acad- 
emy. This  Paper  was  said  to  be  for  the  Consideration  of  the 
Trustees;  and  the  Expectation  of  the  Publick,  that  the  Idea 
might  in  good  Part  be  carried  into  Execution,  contributed  to 
render  the  Subscriptions  more  liberal  as  well  as  more  general. 
I  mention  my  Concern  in  these  Transactions,  to  show  the 
Opportunity  I  had  of  being  well  inform'd  in  the  Points  I  am 

The  Constitutions  are  upon  Record  in  your  Minutes; 
and,  altho'  the  Latin  and  Greek  is  by  them  to  be  taught,  the 
original  Idea  of  a  complete  English  Education  was  not  for- 
gotten, as  will  appear  by  the  following  Extracts. 

Page  i.  "The  English  Tongue  is  to  be  taught  grammati- 
cally, and  as  a  Language." 

Page  4.  In  reciting  the  Qualification  of  the  Person  to  be 
appointed  Rector,  it  is  said,  "that  great  Regard  is  to  be  had  to 
his  polite  Speaking,  Writing,  and  Understanding  the  English 

The  Rector  was  to  have  Two  Hundred  Pounds  a  Year,  for 
vf^  he  was  to  be  obliged  to  "teach  20  Boys,  without  any 
Assistance,  and  25  more  for  every  Usher  provided  for  him, 
the  Latin  and  Greek  Languages;  and  at  the  same  time  in- 
struct them  in  History,  Geography,  Chronology,  Logic, 
Rhetoric,  and  the  English  Tongue" 

12         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

The  Rector  was  also,  "on  all  Occasions  consistent  with  his 
Duty  in  the  Latin  School,  to  assist  the  English  Master  in 
improving  the  Youth  under  his  Care." 

Page  5.  "The  Trustees  shall  with  all  convenient  Speed, 
contract  with  any  Person  that  offers  who  they  shall  judge 
most  capable  of  teaching  the  English  Tongue  grammatically 
and  as  a  Language,  History,  Geography,  Chronology,  Logic, 
and  Oratory;  which  Person  shall  be  stiled  the  English 

The  English  Master  was  to  have  "One  Hundred  Pounds 
a  Year,  for  which  he  was  to  teach,  without  any  Assistance, 
40  Scholars  the  English  Tongue  grammatically  and  at  the 
same  time  instruct  them  in  History,  Geography,  Chronology, 
Logic,  and  Oratory;  and  Sixty  Scholars  more  for  every 
Usher  provided  for  him." 

It  is  to  be  observed  in  this  Place,  that  here  are  two  distinct 
Courses  in  the  same  Study,  that  is,  of  the  same  Branches  of 
Science,  viz.  History,  Geography,  Chronology,  Logic,  and 
Oratory,  to  be  carried  on  at  the  same  time,  but  not  by  the  same 
Tutor  or  Master.  The  English  Master  is  to  teach  his  Schol- 
ars all  those  Branches  of  Science,  and  also  the  English 
Tongue  grammatically,  as  a  Language.  The  Latin  Master 
is  to  teach  the  same  Sciences  to  his  Boys,  besides  the  Greek 
and  Latin.  He  was  also  to  assist  the  English  Master  occa- 
sionally without  which  and  his  general  Care  in  the  Govern- 
ment of  the  Schools,  the  giving  him  double  Salary  seems  not 
well  accounted  for.  But  here  is  plainly  two  distinct  Schools 
or  Courses  of  Education  provided  for.  The  Latin  Master 
was  not  to  teach  the  English  Scholars  Logic,  Rhetoric,  &c. ; 
that  was  the  Duty  of  the  English  Master ;  but  he  was  to  teach 
those  Sciences  to  the  Latin  Scholars.  We  shall  see  hereafter 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY        13 

how  easily  this  original  Plan  was  defeated  and  departed 

When  the  Constitutions  were  first  drawn  Blanks  were  left 
for  the  Salaries,  and  for  the  Number  of  Boys  the  Latin  Master 
was  to  teach.  The  first  Instance  of  Partiality  in  f  av1  of  the 
Latin  Part  of  the  Institution,  was  in  giving  the  Title  of  Rector 
to  the  Latin  Master,  and  no  Title  to  the  English  one.  But 
the  most  striking  Instance  was  when  we  met  to  sign,  and  the 
Blanks  were  first  to  be  filPd  up,  the  Votes  of  a  Majority 
carry'd  it,  to  give  twice  as  much  Salary  to  the  Latin  Master 
as  to  the  English,  and  yet  require  twice  as  much  Duty  from 
the  English  Master  as  from  the  Latin,  viz.  aoo/.  to  the  Latin 
Master  to  teach  20  Boys ;  ioo/.  to  the  English  Master  to  teach 
40!  However,  the  Trustees  who  voted  these  Salaries  being 
themselves  by  far  the  greatest  Subscribers,  tho'  not  the  most 
numerous,  it  was  thought  they  had  a  kind  of  Right  to  pre- 
dominate in  Money  Matters;  and  those  who  had  wish'd  an 
equal  Regard  might  have  been  shown  to  both  Schools,  sub- 
mitted, tho'  not  without  Regret,  and  at  times  some  little 
Complaining ;  which,  with  their  not  being  able  hi  nine  Months 
to  find  a  proper  Person  for  English  Master,  who  would  under- 
take the  Office  for  so  low  a  Salary,  induc'd  the  Trustees  at 
length,  viz.  in  July  1750,  to  offer  $ol.  more. 

Another  Instance  of  the  Partiality  above  mentioned  was  in 
the  March  preceding,  when  ioo/.  Sterling  was  voted  to  buy 
Latin  and  Greek  Books,  Maps,  Drafts,  and  Instruments  for 
the  Use  of  the  Academy,  and  nothing  for  English  Books. 

The  great  Part  of  the  Subscribers,  who  had  the  English 
Education  chiefly  in  view,  were  however  sooth'd  into  a  Sub- 
mission to  these  Partialities,  chiefly  by  the  Expectation  given 
them  by  the  Constitution,  viz.  that  the  Trustees  would  make 

14         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

it  their  Pleasure,  and  in  some  degree  their  Business,  to  visit 
the  Academy  often,  to  encourage  and  countenance  the  Youth, 
look  on  the  Students  as  in  some  Measure  their  own  Children, 
treat  them  with  Familiarity  and  Affection;  and  when  they 
have  behaved  well,  gone  thro'  their  Studies,  and  are  to  enter 
the  World,  the  Trustees  shall  zealously  unite,  and  make  all  the 
Interest  that  can  be  made,  to  promote  and  establish  them, 
whether  in  Business,  Offices,  Marriages,  or  any  other  thing 
for  their  Advantage,  preferable  to  all  other  Persons  whatso- 
ever, even  of  equal  Merit. 

These  splendid  Promises  dazzled  the  Eyes  of  the  Publick. 
The  Trustees  were  most  of  them  the  principal  Gentlemen  of 
the  Province.  Children  taught  in  other  Schools  had  no  reason 
to  expect  such  powerful  Patronage,  the  Subscribers  had 
plac'd  such  entire  Confidence  in  them  as  to  leave  themselves 
no  Power  of  changing  them  if  their  Conduct  of  the  Plan  should 
be  disapprov'd ;  and  so,  in  hopes  of  the  best,  all  these  Partial- 
ities were  submitted  to. 

Near  a  Year  past  before  a  proper  Person  was  found  to  take 
Charge  of  the  English  School.  At  length  Mr.  Dove,  who  had 
been  many  years  Master  of  a  School  in  England,  and  had  come 
hither  with  an  Apparatus  for  giving  Lectures  in  Experimen- 
tal Philosophy,  was  prevail'd  with  by  me,  after  his  Lectures 
were  finished,  to  accept  that  Employment  for  the  Salary  of- 
fered, tho'  he  thought  it  too  scanty.  He  had  a  good  Voice, 
read  perfectly  well,  with  proper  Accent  and  just  Pronuncia- 
tion, and  his  Method  of  communicating  Habits  of  the  same 
kind  to  his  Pupils  was  this.  When  he  gave  a  Lesson  to  one 
of  them,  he  always  first  read  it  to  him  aloud,  with  all  the 
different  Modulations  of  Voice  that  the  Subject  and  Sense 
required.  These  the  scholars,  in  studying  and  repeating  the 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY        15 

Lesson,  naturally  endeavour'd  to  imitate;  and  it  was  really 
surprizing  to  see  how  soon  they  caught  his  Manner,  which 
convinc'd  me  and  others  who  frequently  attended  his  School, 
that  tho'  bad  Tones  and  manners  in  reading  are  when  once 
acquir'd  rarely,  with  Difficulty,  if  ever  cur'd,  yet,  when  none 
have  been  already  form'd,  good  ones  are  as  easily  learn'd  as 
bad.  In  a  few  Weeks  after  opening  his  School,  the  Trus- 
tees were  invited  to  hear  the  Scholars  read  and  recite.  The 
Parents  and  Relations  of  the  Boys  also  attended.  The  Per- 
formances were  surprizingly  good,  and  of  course  were  admired 
and  applauded ;  and  the  English  School  thereby  acquired 
such  Reputation,  that  the  Number  of  Mr.  Dove's  Scholars 
soon  amounted  to  upwards  of  Ninety,  which  Number  did  not 
dimmish  as  long  as  he  continued  Master,  viz.  upwards  of  two 
Years:  But  he  finding  the  Salary  insufficient,  and  having 
set  up  a  School  for  Girls  in  his  own  House  to  supply  the  De- 
ficiency, and  quitting  the  Boys'  School  somewhat  before  the 
Hour  to  attend  the  Girls,  the  Trustees  disapprov'd  of  his  so 
doing,  and  he  quitted  their  Employment,  continu'd  his  Girls' 
School,  and  open'd  one  for  Boys  on  his  own  Account.  The 
Trustees  provided  another  English  Master;  but  tho'  a  good 
Man,  yet  not  possessing  the  Talents  of  an  English  School- 
master in  the  same  Perfection  with  Mr.  Dove,  the  School 
diminish'd  daily,  and  soon  was  found  to  have  but  about  forty 
Scholars  left.  The  Performances  of  the  Boys,  in  Reading 
and  Speaking,  were  no  longer  so  brilliant;  the  Trustees  of 
course  had  not  the  same  Pleasure  in  hearing  them,  and  the 
Monthly  Visitations,  which  had  so  long  afforded  a  delightful 
Entertainment  to  large  Audiences  were  gradually  badly 
attended,  and  at  length  discontinued ;  and  the  English  School 
has  never  since  recovered  its  original  Reputation. 

i6         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

Thus  by  our  injudiciously  starving  the  English  Part  of  our 
Scheme  of  Education,  we  only  sav'd  Fifty  Pounds  a  Year, 
which  was  required  as  an  additional  Salary  to  an  acknowledg'd 
excellent  English  master,  which  would  have  equaled  his  En- 
couragement to  that  of  the  Latin  Master;  I  say  by  saving 
the  Fifty  Pounds  we  lost  Fifty  Scholars,  which  would  have 
been  2oo/.  a  Year,  and  defeated  besides  one  great  End  of 
the  Institution. 

In  the  mean  time  our  Favours  were  shower'd  upon  the  Latin 
Part;  the  Number  of  Teachers  was  encreas'd,  and  their 
Salaries  from  tune  to  time  augmented,  till  if  I  mistake  not, 
they  amounted  in  the  whole  to  more  than  6oo/.  a  Year,  tho' 
the  Scholars  hardly  ever  exceeded  60;  so  that  each  Scholar 
Cost  the  Funds  io/.  per  annum,  while  he  paid  but  4/.,  which 
was  a  Loss  of  61.  by  every  one  of  them. 

The  Monthly  Visitation  too  of  the  Schools,  by  the  Trustees, 
having  been  long  neglected,  the  Omission  was  complain'd 
of  by  the  Parents,  as  a  Breach  of  original  Promise;  where- 
upon the  Trustees,  July  n,  1755,  made  it  a  Law,  that  "they 
should  meet  on  the  second  Tuesday  in  every  Month  at  the 
Academy,  to  visit  the  Schools,  examine  the  Scholars,  hear  their 
public  Exercises,  &c."  This  good  Law  however,  like  many 
others,  was  not  long  observed;  for  I  find  by  a  Minute  of 
Dec.  14,  1756,  that  the  Examination  of  the  Schools  by  the 
Trustees  had  been  long  neglected,  and  it  was  agreed  that  it 
should  thereafter  be  done  on  the  first  Monday  in  every  Month. 
And,  yet  notwithstanding  this  new  Rule,  the  Neglect  return'd, 
so  that  we  are  inform'd,  by  another  Minute  of  Jan.  13,  1761, 
"  that  for  5  Months  past  there  had  not  been  one  Meeting  of  the 
Trustees."  In  the  Course  of  14  Years  several  of  the  original 
Trustees,  who  had  been  dispos'd  to  favour  the  English 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY        17 

School,  deceased,  and  others  not  so  favourable  were  chosen 
to  supply  their  Places;  however  it  appears  by  the  Minutes, 
that  the  Remainder  had  some  times  Weight  enough  to  recall 
the  Attention  of  their  Colleagues  to  that  School,  and  obtain 
Acknowledgments  of  the  unjust  Neglect  it  had  been  treated 
with.  Of  this  the  following  Extracts  from  the  Minutes  are 
authentic  Proofs,  viz.  (Minute  Book,  Vol.  I.,  Feb.  8,  1763;) 
"The  State  of  the  English  School  was  taken  into  Considera- 
tion, and  it  was  observed  that  Mr.  Kinnersley's  Time  was 
entirely  taken  up  in  teaching  little  Boys  the  Elements  of  the 
English  Language  (that  is  it  was  dwindled  into  a  School 
similar  to  those  kept  by  old  Women,  who  teach  Children  their 
Letters) ;  and  that  Speaking  and  Rehearsing  in  Publick 
were  totally  disused,  to  the  great  Prejudice  of  the  other 
Scholars  and  Students,  and  contrary  to  the  ORIGINAL  DESIGN 
of  the  Trustees  in  the  forming  of  that  School ;  and  as  this  was 
a  matter  of  great  Importance,  it  was  particularly  recommended 
to  be  fully  considered  by  the  Trustees  at  their  next  Meeting." 
At  their  next  Meeting  it  was  not  considered :  But  This  Min- 
ute contains  full  Proof  of  the  Fact  that  the  English  Education 
had  been  neglected,  and  it  contains  an  Acknowledgment 
that  the  Conduct  of  the  English  School  was  contrary  to  the 
original  Design  of  the  Trustees  hi  forming  it. 

In  the  same  Book  of  Minutes  we  find  the  following,  of  April 
12,  1763.  "The  State  of  the  English  School  was  again  taken 
into  Consideration,  and  it  was  the  Opinion  of  the  Trustees 
that  the  ORIGINAL  DESIGN  should  be  prosecuted,  of  teach- 
ing the  Scholars  of  that  (and  the  other  Schools)  the  Elegance 
of  the  English  Language,  and  giving  them  a  proper  Pronun- 
ciation ;  and  that  the  old  Method  of  hearing  them  read  and 
repeat  in  Publick  shd  be  again  used :  And  a  Committee  was 

VOL.  X  —  C 

1 8         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1789 

appointed  to  confer  with  Mr.  Kinnersley  how  this  might  best 
be  done,  as  well  as  what  Assistance  would  be  necessary  to  give 
Mr.  Kinnersley  to  enable  him  to  attend  this  necessary  Service, 
which  was  indeed  the  PROPER  BUSINESS  of  his  Professorship." 

In  this  Minute  we  have  another  Acknowledgment  of  what 
was  the  original  Design  of  the  English  School;  but  here 
are  some  Words  thrown  in  to  countenance  an  Innovation, 
which  had  been  for  some  time  practised.  The  Words  are, 
("and  the  other  schools.")  Originally  by  the  Constitutions, 
the  Rector  was  to  teach  the  Latin  Scholars  their  English. 
The  Words  of  the  Constitution  are,  "The  Rector  shall  be 
obliged,  without  the  Assistance  of  any  Usher,  to  teach  20 

Scholars  the  Latin  and  Greek  Languages,  and  the 

English  Tongue."  To  enable  him  to  do  this,  we  have  seen 
that  some  of  his  Qualifications  requir'd,  were,  his  polite  Speak- 
ing, Writing,  and  Understanding  the  English  Tongue.  Having 
these,  he  was  enjoin'd,  on  all  Occasions  consistent  with  his 
other  Duties,  to  assist  the  English  Master  in  improving  the 
Boys  under  his  Care ;  but  there  is  not  a  Word  obliging  the 
English  Master  to  teach  the  Latin  Boys  English.  However, 
the  Latin  Masters,  either  unable  to  do  it,  or  unwilling  to  take 
the  Trouble,  had  got  him  up  among  them,  and  employ'd  so 
much  of  his  Time,  that  this  Minute  owns  he  could  not,  with- 
out farther  Assistance,  attend  the  necessary  Service  of  his 
own  School,  which,  as  the  Minute  expressly  says,  "was 
indeed  the  proper  Business  of  his  Professorship." 

Notwithstanding  this  good  Resolution  of  the  Trustees, 
it  seems  the  Execution  of  it  was  neglected ;  and,  the  Publick 
not  being  satisfied,  they  were  again  haunted  by  the  Friends  of 
the  Children  with  the  old  Complaint  that  the  original  Con- 
stitutions were  not  complied  with,  in  regard  to  the  English 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY        19 

School.  Their  Situation  was  unpleasant.  On  the  one  hand 
there  were  still  remaining  some  of  the  first  Trustees,  who  were 
Friends  to  the  Scheme  of  English  Education,  and  these  would 
now  and  then  be  remarking  that  it  was  neglected,  and  would 
be  moving  for  a  Reformation.  The  Constitutions  at  the  same 
time,  staring  the  Trustees  in  the  Face,  gave  weight  to  these 
Remarks.  On  the  other  hand  the  Latinists  were  combin'd  to 
decry  the  English  School  as  useless.  It  was  without  Example, 
they  said,  as  indeed  they  still  say,  that  a  School  for  teaching  the 
Vulgar  Tongue,  and  the  Sciences  in  that  Tongue,  was  ever 
joined  with  a  College,  and  that  the  Latin  Masters  were  fully 
competent  to  teach  the  English. 

I  will  not  say  that  the  Latinists  look'd  on  every  Expence 
upon  the  English  School  as  so  far  disabling  the  Trustees  from 
augmenting  their  Salaries,  and  therefore  regarded  it  with  an 
evil  Eye ;  but  when  I  find  the  Minutes  constantly  fill'd  with 
their  Applications  for  higher  Wages,  I  cannot  but  see  their 
great  Regard  for  Money  Matters,  and  suspect  a  little  their 
using  their  Interest  and  Influence  to  prevail  with  the  Trus- 
tees not  to  encourage  that  School.  And  indeed  the  following 
Minute  is  so  different  in  Spirit  and  Sentiment  from  that 
last  recited,  that  one  cannot  avoid  concluding  that  some 
extraordinary  Pains  must  have  been  taken  with  the  Trustees 
between  the  two  Meetings  of  April  12  and  June  13,  to  pro- 
duce a  Resolution  so  very  different,  which  here  follows  in 
this  Minute,  viz.  "  June  13,  1763 ;  Some  of  the  Parents  of  the 
Children  in  the  Academy  having  complained  that  their 
Children  were  not  taught  to  speak  and  read  in  publick  and 
having  requested  that  this  useful  Part  of  Education  might 
be  more  attended  to,  Mr.  Kinnersley  was  called  in,  and. 
desired  to  give  an  Ace*  of  what  was  done  in  this  Branch  of  his 

20          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

Duty ;  and  he  declared  that  this  was  well  taught,  not  only  in 
the  English  School,  wch  was  more  immediately  under  his 
Care,  but  in  the  Philosophy  Classes,  regularly  every  Monday 
Afternoon,  and  as  often  at  other  times  as  his  other  Business 
would  permit.  And  it  not  appearing  to  the  Trustees  that  any 
more  could  at  present  be  done,  without  partiality  and  great 
Inconvenience,  and  that  this  was  all  that  was  ever  proposed 
to  be  done,  they  did  not  incline  to  make  any  Alteration,  or  to 
lay  any  farther  Burthen  on  Mr.  Kinnersley."  Note  here,  that 
the  English  School  had  not  for  some  Years  preceding  been 
visited  by  the  Trustees.  If  it  had  they  would  have  known  the 
State  of  it  without  making  this  Enquiry  of  the  Master.  They 
might  have  judg'd,  whether  the  Children  more  immediately 
under  his  Care  were  in  truth  well  taught,  without  taking  his 
Word  for  it,  as  it  appears  they  did.  But  it  seems  he  had  a 
Merit  which,  when  he  pleaded  it,  effectually  excus'd  him. 
He  spent  his  Time  when  out  of  the  English  School  in  instruct- 
ing the  Philosophy  Classes  who  were  of  the  Latin  Part  of  the 
Institution.  Therefore  they  did  not  think  proper  to  lay  any 
farther  Burthen  upon  him. 

It  is  a  little  difficult  to  conceive  how  these  Trustees  could 
bring  themselves  to  declare,  that  "No  more  could  be  done  in 
the  English  School  than  was  then  done,  and  that  it  was  all 
that  was  ever  propos'd  to  be  done;"  when  their  preceding 
Minute  declares,  that  "the  original  Design  was  teaching 
Scholars  the  Elegance  of  the  English  Language,  and  giving 
them  a  proper  Pronunciation;  and  that  hearing  them  read 
and  repeat  in  Publick  was  the  old  Method,  and  should  be  again 
used."  And  certainly  the  Method  that  had  been  used  might 
be  again  used,  if  the  Trustees  had  thought  fit  to  order  Mr. 
Kinnersley  to  attend  his  own  School,  and  not  spend  his  Time 


in  the  Philosophy  Classes,  where  his  Duty  did  not  require  his 
Attendance.  What  the  apprehended  Partiality  was,  which 
the  Minute  mentions,  does  not  appear,  and  cannot  easily  be 
imagined;  and  the  great  Inconvenience  of  obliging  him  to 
attend  his  own  School  could  only  be  depriving  the  Latinists 
of  his  Assistance,  to  which  they  had  no  right. 

The  Trustees  may  possibly  have  suppos'd,  that  by  this 
Resolution  they  had  precluded  all  future  Attempts  to  trouble 
them  with  respect  to  their  Conduct  of  the  English  School. 
The  Parents  indeed,  despairing  of  any  Reformation,  withdrew 
their  Children,  and  plac'd  them  in  private  Schools,  of  which 
several  now  appear'd  in  the  city,  professing  to  teach  what 
had  been  promis'd  to  be  taught  in  the  Academy;  and  they 
have  since  flourish'd  and  encreas'd  by  the  Scholars  the 
Academy  might  have  had  if  it  had  perform'd  its  Engagements. 
But  the  Publick  was  not  satisfy'd;  and  we  find,  five  Years 
after,  the  English  School  appearing  again,  after  5  Years' 
Silence,  haunting  the  Trustees  like  an  evil  Conscience,  and 
reminding  them  of  their  Failure  in  Duty.  For  of  their 
meetings  Jan.  19  and  26,  1768,  we  find  these  Minutes.  "  Jan. 
19,  1768.  It  having  been  remarked,  that  the  Schools  suffer 
hi  the  Publick  Esteem  by  the  Discontinuance  of  public 
Speaking,  a  special  meeting  is  to  be  called  on  Tuesday  next, 
to  consider  the  State  of  the  English  School,  and  to  regulate 
such  Matters  as  may  be  necessary."  "Jan.  26;  A  Special 
Meeting.  It  is  agreed  to  give  Mr.  Jon.  Easton  and  Mr. 
Thomas  Hall,  at  the  Rate  of  Twenty-five  Pounds  per  Ann 
each,  for  assisting  Mr.  Kinnersley  in  the  English  School, 
and  taking  Care  of  the  same  when  he  shall  be  employ'd  in 
teaching  the  Students,  in  the  Philosophy  Classes  and  Gram- 
mar School,  the  Art  of  public  Speaking.  [A  committee,  Mr. 

22          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

Peters,  Mr.  Coxe,  and  Mr.  Duche",  with  the  masters,  was 
appointed  to  fix  rules  and  times  for  employing  the  youth  in 
public  speaking.]  *  Mr.  Easton  and  Mr.  Hall  are  to  be  paid 
out  of  a  Fund  to  be  raised  by  some  public  Performance  for 
the  Benefit  of  the  College." 

It  appears  from  these  Minutes,  i.  That  the  Reputation 
of  the  Academy  had  suffered  in  the  Publick  Esteem  by  the 
Trustees'  Neglect  of  that  School.  2.  That  Mr.  Kinnersley, 
whose  sole  Business  it  was  to  attend  it,  had  been  called  from 
his  Duty  and  employed  in  the  Philosophy  Classes  and  Latin 
Grammar  School,  teaching  the  Scholars  there  the  art  of 
public  Speaking,  which  the  Latinists  used  to  boast  they 
could  teach  themselves.  3.  That  the  Neglect  for  so  many 
Years  of  the  English  Scholars,  by  this  Subtraction  of  their 
Master,  was  now  acknowledged,  and  propos'd  to  be  reme- 
died for  the  future  by  engaging  two  Persons,  Mr.  Hall  and  Mr. 
Easton,  at  25  £  each  per  Ann,  to  take  care  of  those  Scholars, 
while  Mr.  Kinnersley  was  employ'd  among  the  Latinists. 

Care  was  however  taken  by  the  Trustees,  not  to  be  at  any 
Expence  for  this  Assistance  to  Mr.  Kinnersley ;  for  Hall  and 
Easton  were  only  to  be  paid  out  of  the  uncertain  Fund  of 
Money  to  be  raised  by  some  public  Performance  for  the 
Benefit  of  the  Colledge. 

A  committee  was  however  now  appointed  to  fix  Rules  and 
Times  for  employing  the  Youth  in  public  Speaking.  Whether 
any  thing  was  done  in  consequence  of  these  Minutes  does  not 
appear ;  no  Report  of  the  Committee  respecting  their  Doings 
being  to  be  found  on  the  Records,  and  the  Probability  is  that 
they  did,  as  heretofore,  nothing  to  the  purpose.  For  the 
English  School  continued  to  decline,  and  the  first  subsequent 

1  Paragraph  in  brackets  is  stricken  out  of  Ms.  in  L.  C.  —  ED. 


Mention  we  find  made  of  it,  is  in  the  Minute  of  March  21, 
1769,  when  the  Design  began  to  be  entertained  of  abolishing 
it  altogether,  whereby  the  Latinists  would  get  rid  of  an  Eye- 
sore, and  the  Trustees  of  what  occasioned  them  such  frequent 
Trouble.  The  Minute  is  this;  "The  State  of  the  English 
School  is  to  be  taken  into  Consideration  at  next  Meeting,  and 
whether  it  be  proper  to  continue  it  on  its  present  Footing  or 
not."  This  Consideration  was,  however  not  taken  at  the  next 
Meeting,  at  least  nothing  was  concluded  so  as  to  be  minuted ; 
nor  do  we  find  any  farther  Mention  of  the  English  School 
till  the  1 8th  of  July,  when  the  following  Minute  was  entered ; 
viz.  "A  Special  Meeting  is  appointed  to  be  held  on  Monday 
next,  and  Notice  to  be  given  that  the  Design  of  this  Meeting 
is  to  consider  whether  the  English  School  is  to  be  longer  con- 

This  special  Meeting  was  accordingly  held  on  the  23d  of 
July,  1769,  of  which  Date  is  the  following  Minute  and  Resolu- 
tion; viz.  "The  Trustees  at  this  Meeting,  as  well  as  several 
former  ones,  having  taken  into  their  serious  Consideration  the 
State  of  the  English  School,  are  unanimously  of  Opinion, 
that  as  the  said  School  is  far  from  defraying  the  Expence  at 
which  they  now  support  it,  and  not  thinking  that  they  ought 
to  lay  out  any  great  Part  of  the  Funds  entrusted  to  them  on 
this  Branch  of  Education,  which  can  so  easily  be  procur'd  at 
other  Schools  in  this  City,  have  Resolved,  that  from  and  after 
the  1 7th  of  October  next,  Mr.  Kinnersley's  present  Salary  do 
cease,  and  that  from  that  time  the  said  School,  if  he  shall  be 
inclined  to  keep  it,  shall  be  on  the  following  Footing ;  viz.  that 
he  shall  have  the  free  Use  of  the  Room  where  he  now  teaches, 
and  also  the  whole  Tuition-Money  arising  from  the  Boys 
that  may  be  taught  by  him,  and  that  he  continue  Professor 

24         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

of  English  and  Oratory,  and  as  such,  have  the  house  he  lives 
in  Rent-free,  in  Consideration  of  his  giving  two  Afternoons  in 
the  Week  as  heretofore,  for  the  Instruction  of  the  Students 
belonging  to  the  College  in  public  Speaking,  agreeable  to  such 
Rules  as  are  or  shall  be  made  for  that  purpose  by  the  Trustees 
and  Faculty.  It  is  farther  ordered  by  this  Regulation,  that 
the  Boys  belonging  to  his  School  shall  be  still  considered  as 
Part  of  the  Youth  belonging  to  the  College,  and  under  the 
same  general  Government  of  the  Trustees  and  Faculty ;  and 
such  of  his  Scholars  as  may  attend  the  Mathematical  or  any 
other  Master  having  a  Salary  from  the  College,  for  any  part 
of  their  Time,  shall  pay  proportionably  into  the  Fund  of  the 
Trustees,  to  be  accounted  for  by  Mr.  Kinnersley,  and  deduct 
out  of  the  20  per  quarter  now  paid  by  the  English  Scholars." 

The  Trustees  hope  this  Regulation  may  be  agreeable  to  Mr. 
Kinnersley,  as  it  proceeds  entirely  from  the  Reasons  set 
forth  above,  and  not  from  any  Abatement  of  that  Esteem 
which  they  have  always  retain'd  for  him,  during  the  whole 
Course  of  his  Services  in  College. 

Upon  this  and  some  of  the  preceding  Minutes,  we  may 
observe;  i.  That  the  English  School  having  been  long 
neglected,  the  Scholars  were  so  diminish'd  in  Number  as  to  be 
far  from  defraying  the  Expence  in  supporting  it.  2.  That 
the  Instruction  they  receiv'd  there,  instead  of  a  compleat 
English  Education,  which  had  been  promised  to  the  Sub- 
scribers by  the  original  Constitutions,  were  only  such  as  might 
easily  be  procured  at  other  Schools  in  this  City.  3.  That 
this  unprofitableness  of  the  English  School,  owing  to  Neglect 
of  Duty  in  the  Trustees,  was  now  offered  as  a  Reason  for 
demolishing  it  altogether.  For  it  was  easy  to  see,  that,  after 
depriving  the  Master  of  his  Salary,  he  could  not  long  afford 


to  continue  it.  4.  That  if  the  Insufficiency  of  the  Tuition- 
Money  in  the  English  School  to  pay  the  Expence,  and  the 
Ease  with  which  the  Scholars  might  obtain  equal  Instruction 
in  other  Schools,  were  good  Reasons  for  depriving  the  Master 
of  his  Salary  and  destroying  that  School,  they  were  equally 
good  for  dismissing  the  Latin  Masters,  and  sending  their 
Scholars  to  other  Schools;  since  it  is  notorious  that  the 
Tuition- Money  of  the  Latin  School  did  not  pay  much  above 
a  fourth  Part  of  the  Salaries  of  the  Masters.  For  such 
Reasons  the  Trustees  might  equally  well  have  got  rid  of  all 
the  Scholars  and  all  the  Masters,  and  remain'd  in  full  Pos- 
session of  all  the  College  Property,  without  any  future  Ex- 
pence.  5.  That  by  thus  refusing  any  longer  to  support, 
instead  of  Reforming,  as  they  ought  to  have  done,  the  English 
School,  they  shamefully  broke  through  and  set  at  nought  the 
original  Constitutions,  for  the  due  Execution  of  which  the 
Faith  of  the  original  Trustees  had  been  solemnly  pledged  to 
the  Publick  and  diverted  the  Revenues,  proceeding  from  much 
of  the  first  Subscriptions,  to  other  Purposes  than  those  which 
had  been  promised.  Had  the  Assembly,  when  disposed  to  dis- 
franchise the  Trustees,  set  their  Foot  upon  this  Ground,  their 
Proceeding  to  declare  the  Forfeiture  would  have  been  more 
justifiable ;  and  it  may  be  hop'd  Care  will  now  be  taken  not 
to  give  any  future  Assembly  the  same  Handle. 

It  seems,  however,  that  this  unrighteous  Resolve  did  not 
pass  the  Trustees  without  a  Qualm  in  some  of  them.  For 
at  the  next  Meeting  a  Reconsideration  was  moved,  and  we 
find  the  following  Minute  under  the  Date  of  August  i,  1769; 
"The  Minute  of  last  Meeting  relative  to  the  English  School 
was  read,  and  after  mature  Deliberation  and  reconsidering 
the  same,  it  was  voted  to  stand  as  it  is,  provided  it  should  not 

26         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

be  found  any  way  repugnant  to  the  first  Charter  granted  to 
the  Academy,  a  Copy  of  which  was  ordered  to  be  procured 
out  of  the  Rolls  Office." 

One  might  have  thought  it  natural  for  the  Trustees  to  have 
consulted  this  Charter  before  they  took  the  Resolution,  and 
not  only  the  first  Charter,  but  the  original  Constitutions; 
but,  as  it  seems  they  had  lost  the  Instrument  containing  the 
Charter,  and,  tho'  it  had  been  printed,  not  one  of  them  was 
furnished  with  a  Copy  to  which  he  might  refer,  it  is  no 
wonder  that  they  had  forgot  the  Constitutions  made  20 
Years  before,  to  which  they  do  not  seem  to  have  in  the  least 

Probably,  however,  the  Trustees  found,  when  they  came  to 
examine  original  Papers,  that  they  could  not  easily  get  entirely 
rid  of  the  English  School,  and  so  concluded  to  continue  it. 
For  I  find  in  a  Law  for  Premiums,  minuted  under  the  Date 
of  Jan.  29,  1770,  that  the  English  and  mathematical  School 
is  directed  to  be  examined  the  3d  Tuesday  in  July,  and  a 
Premium  Book  of  the  Value  of  One  Dollar  was  to  be  given 
to  him  that  reads  best,  and  understands  best  the  English 
Grammar,  &c.  This  is  very  well;  but  to  keep  up  the  old 
Partiality  in  favour  of  the  Latin  School,  the  Premium  to  its 
Boys  was  to  be  of  the  Value  of  two  Dollars.  In  the  Pre- 
miums for  best  Speaking,  they  were  indeed  put  upon  an 

After  Reading  this  Law  for  Premiums,  I  looked  forward 
to  the  third  Tuesday  in  July  with  some  pleasing  Expecta- 
tion of  their  Effect  on  the  Examination  required  for  that  Day. 
But  I  met  with  only  this  farther  Record  of  the  Inattention 
of  the  Trustees  to  their  new  Resolutions  and  even  Laws, 
when  they  contained  any  thing  favourable  to  the  English 


School.  The  Minute  is  only  this ;  "  July,  August,  September, 
October,  no  Business  done." 

On  the  2oth  of  November,  however,  I  find  there  was  an 
Examination  of  the  Latin  school,  and  Premiums,  with  pom- 
pous Inscriptions,  afterwards  adjudged  to  Latin  Scholars ; 
but  I  find  no  Mention  of  any  to  the  English,  or  that  they  were 
even  examined.  Perhaps  there  might  have  been  none  to 
examine,  or  the  school  discontinu'd :  For  it  appears  by  a 
Minute  of  July  21,  following,  that  the  Provost  was  desired 
to  advertise  for  a  Master  able  to  teach  English  Grammatically, 
which  it  seems  was  all  the  English  Master  was  now  required 
to  teach,  the  other  Branches  originally  promised  being  dropt 

In  October  1772  Mr.  Kinnersley  resigned  his  Professor- 
ship, when  Dr.  Peters  and  others  were  appointed  to  consider 
on  what  footing  the  English  School  shall  be  put  for  the  future, 
that  a  new  Master  may  be  thought  of,  and  Mr.  Willing  to 
take  care  of  the  School  for  the  present  at  50  Pounds  per  Ann. 
It  is  observable  here  that  there  is  no  Mention  of  putting  it 
on  its  original  Footing,  and  the  Salary  is  shrunk  amazingly ; 
but  this  Resignation  of  Mr.  Kinnersley  gave  Occasion  to 
one  Testimony  of  the  Utility  of  the  English  Professor  to  the 
Institution,  notwithstanding  all  the  Partiality,  Neglect, 
Slights,  Discouragements,  and  Injustice  that  School  had 
suffered.  We  find  it  in  the  Minutes  of  a  special  Meeting  on 
the  2d  of  Feby,  1773,  present  Dr.  Peters,  Mr.  Chew,  Mr. 
Lawrence,  Mr.  Willing,  Mr.  Trettel,  and  Mr.  Inglis,  and 
expressed  in  these  strong  Terms. 

"The  college  suffers  greatly  since  Mr.  Kinnersley  left  it, 
for  want  of  a  Person  to  teach  public  Speaking,  so  that  the 
present  Classes  have  not  those  Opportunities  of  learning  to 

28         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

declaim  and  speak  which  have  been  of  so  much  Use  to  their 
Predecessors,  and  have  contributed  greatly  to  raise  the  Credit 
of  the  Institution!" 

Here  is  another  Confession  that  the  Latinists  were  unequal 
to  the  Task  of  teaching  English  Eloquence,  tho'  on  occasion 
the  contrary  is  still  asserted. 

I  flatter  myself,  Gentlemen,  that  it  appears  by  this  time 
pretty  clearly  from  our  own  Minutes,  that  the  original  Plan 
of  the  English  school  has  been  departed  from;  that  the 
Subscribers  to  it  have  been  disappointed  and  deceived,  and 
the  Faith  of  the  Trustees  not  kept  with  them ;  that  the  Publick 
have  been  frequently  dissatisfied  with  the  Conduct  of  the 
Trustees,  and  complained  of  it;  that,  by  the  niggardly 
Treatment  of  Good  Masters,  they  have  been  driven  out  of 
the  School,  and  the  Scholars  have  followed,  while  a  great  Loss 
of  Revenue  has  been  suffered  by  the  Academy ;  for  that  the 
numerous  Schools  now  in  the  City  owe  their  Rise  to  our 
Mismanagement,  and  that  we  might  as  well  have  had  the 
best  Part  of  the  Tuition-Money  paid  into  our  Treasury,  that 
now  goes  into  private  Pockets;  that  there  has  been  a  con- 
stant Disposition  to  depress  the  English  School  in  favour  of 
the  Latin ;  and  that  every  Means  to  procure  a  more  equitable 
Treatment  has  been  rendered  ineffectual;  so  that  no  more 
Hope  remains  while  they  continue  to  have  any  Connection. 
It  is,  therefore,  that,  wishing  as  much  good  to  the  Latinists 
as  their  System  can  honestly  procure  for  them,  we  now  de- 
mand a  Separation,  and  without  desiring  to  injure  them; 
but  claiming  an  equitable  Partition  of  our  joint  Stock,  we 
wish  to  execute  the  Plan  they  have  so  long  defeated,  and 
afford  the  Publick  the  Means  of  a  compleat  English  Educa- 

1789]     INTENTIONS  OF  FOUNDERS  OF  ACADEMY        29 

I  am  the  only  one  of  the  original  Trustees  now  living,  and 
I  am  just  stepping  into  the  Grave  myself.  I  am  afraid  that 
some  Part  of  the  Blame  incurred  by  the  Trustees  may  be 
laid  on  me,  for  having  too  easily  submitted  to  the  Deviations 
from  the  Constitution,  and  not  opposing  them  with  sufficient 
Zeal  and  Earnestness;  tho'  indeed  my  Absence  in  foreign 
Countries  at  different  Tunes  for  near  30  Years,  tended  much 
to  weaken  my  Influence.  To  make  what  Amends  are  yet 
in  my  Power,  I  seize  this  Opportunity,  the  last  I  may  possibly 
have,  of  bearing  Testimony  against  those  Deviations.  I  seem 
here  to  be  surrounded  by  the  Ghosts  of  my  dear  departed 
Friends,  beckoning  and  urging  me  to  use  the  only  Tongue 
now  left  us,  in  demanding  that  Justice  to  our  Grandchildren, 
that  our  Children  has  been  denied.  And  I  hope  they  will 
not  be  sent  away  discontented. 

The  Origin  of  Latin  and  Greek  Schools  among  the  different 
Nations  of  Europe  is  known  to  have  been  this,  that  until 
between  3  and  400  Years  past  there  were  no  Books  in  any 
other  Language ;  all  the  Knowledge  then  contain'd  in  Books, 
viz.  the  Theology,  the  Jurisprudence,  the  Physic,  the  Art- 
military,  the  Politicks,  the  Mathematics  and  Mechanics, 
the  Natural  and  moral  Philosophy,  the  Logic  and  Rhetoric, 
the  Chemistry,  the  Pharmacy,  the  Architecture,  and  every 
other  Branch  of  Science,  being  in  those  Languages,  it  was  of 
course  necessary  to  learn  them,  as  the  Gates  through  which 
Men  must  pass  to  get  at  that  Knowledge. 

The  Books  then  existing  were  manuscript,  and  these  con- 
sequently so  dear,  that  only  the  few  Wealthy  enclin'd  to 
Learning  could  afford  to  purchase  them.  The  common 
People  were  not  even  at  the  Pains  of  learning  to  read,  because, 
after  taking  that  Pains,  they  would  have  nothing  to  read 

30         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

that  they  could  understand  without  learning  the  ancient 
Languages,  nor  then  without  Money  to  purchase  the  Manu- 
scripts. And  so  few  were  the  learned  Readers  60  Years  after 
the  Invention  of  Printing,  that  it  appears  by  Letters  still 
extant  between  the  Printers  in  1499,  that  they  could  not 
throughout  Europe  find  Purchasers  for  more  than  300  Copies 
of  any  ancient  Authors.  But  Printing  beginning  now  to 
make  Books  cheap,  the  Readers  increas'd  so  much  as  to  make 
it  worth  while  to  write  and  print  Books  in  the  Vulgar  Tongues. 
At  first  these  were  chiefly  Books  of  Devotion  and  little  His- 
tories ;  gradually  several  Branches  of  Science  began  to  appear 
in  the  common  Languages,  and  at  this  Day  the  whole  Body 
of  Science,  consisting  not  only  of  Translations,  from  all  the 
valuable  ancients,  but  of  all  the  new  modern  Discoveries, 
is  to  be  met  with  in  those  Languages,  so  that  learning  the 
ancient  for  the  purpose  of  acquiring  Knowledge  is  become 
absolutely  unnecessary. 

But  there  is  in  Mankind  an  unaccountable  Prejudice  in 
favour  of  ancient  Customs  and  Habitudes,  which  inclines  to 
a  Continuance  of  them  after  the  Circumstances,  which 
formerly  made  them  useful,  cease  to  exist.  A  Multitude  of 
Instances  might  be  given,  but  it  may  suffice  to  mention  one. 
Hats  were  once  thought  an  useful  Part  of  Dress ;  it  was  said 
they  kept  the  Head  warm  and  screen'd  it  from  the  violent 
Impression  of  the  sun's  Rays,  and  from  the  Rain,  Snow, 
Hail,  &c.  Tho'  by  the  Way,  this  was  not  the  more  ancient 
Opinion  or  Practice ;  for  among  all  the  Remains  of  Antiquity, 
the  Bustos,  Statues,  Coins,  medals,  &c.,  which  are  infinite, 
there  is  no  Representation  of  a  human  Figure  with  a  Cap  or 
Hat  on,  nor  any  Covering  for  the  Head,  unless  it  be  the  Head 
of  a  Soldier,  who  has  a  Helmet ;  but  that  is  evidently  not  a 


Part  of  Dress  for  Health,  but  as  a  Protection  from  the  Strokes 
of  a  Weapon. 

At  what  Time  Hats  were  first  introduced  we  know  not, 
but  in  the  last  Century  they  were  universally  worn  thro'out 
Europe.  Gradually,  however,  as  the  Wearing  of  Wigs, 
and  Hair  nicely  dress'd  prevailed,  the  putting  on  of  Hats 
was  disused  by  genteel  People,  lest  the  curious  Arrangements 
of  the  Curls  and  Powdering  should  be  disordered;  and 
Umbrellas  began  to  supply  their  Place;  yet  still  our  Con- 
sidering the  Hat  as  a  part  of  Dress  continues  so  far  to  prevail, 
that  a  Man  of  fashion  is  not  thought  dress'd  without  having 
one,  or  something  like  one,  about  him,  which  he  carries  under 
his  Arm.  So  that  there  are  a  multitude  of  the  politer  people 
in  all  the  courts  and  capital  cities  of  Europe,  who  have  never, 
nor  their  fathers  before  them,  worn  a  hat  otherwise  than  as 
a  chapeau  bras,  though  the  utility  of  such  a  mode  of  wearing 
it  is  by  no  means  apparent,  and  it  is  attended  not  only  with 
some  expense,  but  with  a  degree  of  constant  trouble. 

The  still  prevailing  custom  of  having  schools  for  teaching 
generally  our  children,  in  these  days,  the  Latin  and  Greek 
languages,  I  consider  therefore,  in  no  other  light  than  as 
the  Chapeau  bras  of  modern  Literature. 

Thus  the  Time  spent  in  that  Study  might,  it  seems,  be 
much  better  employ'd  in  the  Education  for  such  a  Country 
as  ours;  and  this  was  indeed  the  Opinion  of  most  of  the 
original  Trustees.1 

1  Mr.  Robert  Hare  wrote  to  the  executors  of  Benjamin  Franklin,  Philadel- 
phia, May  21,  1790:  "This  manuscript  was  put  into  my  hands  by  Dr.  Frank- 
lin for  my  inspection,  in  the  last  summer,  at  which  time  some  alterations  in 
the  System  of  Education  pursued  in  the  English  school  at  the  College  were 
under  consideration.  It  was  at  that  time  the  intention  of  the  Doctor  that  the 
Contents  should  be  submitted  to  the  Trustees.  He  afterward  told  me,  his  ill 

32         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 


Philadelphia,  June  3,  1789. 


I  received  your  kind  letter  of  March  4th,  and  wish  I  may 
be  able  to  complete  what  you  so  earnestly  desire,  the  Memoirs 
of  my  Life.  But  of  late  I  am  so  interrupted  by  extreme 
pain,  which  obliges  me  to  have  recourse  to  opium,  that,  be- 
tween the  effects  of  both,  I  have  but  little  time  in  which  I 
can  write  any  thing.  My  grandson,  however,  is  copying 
what  is  done,  which  will  be  sent  to  you  for  your  opinion  by 
the  next  vessel;  and  not  merely  for  your  opinion,  but  for 
your  advice;  for  I  find  it  a  difficult  task  to  speak  decently 
and  properly  of  one's  own  conduct;  and  I  feel  the  want  of 
a  judicious  friend  to  encourage  me  in  scratching  out. 

I  have  condoled  sincerely  with  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph's 
family.  He  was  an  excellent  man.  Losing  our  friends 
thus  one  by  one,  is  the  tax  we  pay  for  long  living ;  and  it  is 
indeed  a  heavy  one. 

I  have  not  seen  the  King  of  Prussia's  posthumous  works ; 
what  you  mention  makes  me  desirous  to  have  them.  Please 
to  mention  it  to  your  brother  William,  and  that  I  request  him 
to  add  them  to  the  books  I  have  desired  him  to  buy  for  me. 

Health  would  not  permit  him  to  engage  personally  in  these  pursuits  but  that 
these  papers  would  afford  Testimony  of  his  Sentiments.  In  the  mean  time  he 
wish'd  them  to  remain  in  my  hands  to  furnish  information  in  support  of  the 
Changes  in  view.  As  these  changes  are  no  longer  in  contemplation  I  have 
not  thought  myself  at  liberty  to  detain  the  papers.  I  have  not  permitted  them 
to  be  inspected  by  other  persons  nor  have  taken  any  copy. 

"  R.  Hare."  —  ED. 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818),  Vol. 
I,  p.  251.  — ED. 

1789]  TO  MRS.  JANE  MECOM  33 

Our  new  government  is  now  in  train,  and  seems  to  promise 
well.  But  events  are  in  the  hand  of  God.  I  am  ever,  my 
dear  friend,  yours  most  affectionately, 


1765.    TO  MRS.   JANE  MECOM         (L.  c.) 

Philad%  Aug*  3,  1789. 

I  have  receiv'd  your  kind  Letter  of  the  23d  past  and  am 
glad  to  learn,  that  you  have  at  length  got  some  of  the  letters 
I  so  long  since  wrote  to  you.  I  think  your  PostOffice  is 
very  badly  managed.  I  expect  your  Bill,  and  shall  pay  it 
when  it  appears.  I  would  have  you  put  the  Books  into 
cousin  Jonathan's  Hands,  who  will  dispose  of  them  for  you, 
if  he  can,  or  return  them  hither.  I  am  very  much  pleased 
to  hear,  that  you  have  had  no  Misunderstanding  with  his 
father.  Indeed,  if  there  had  been  any  such,  I  should  have 
concluded,  it  was  your  fault ;  for  I  think  our  Family  were 
always  subject  to  being  a  little  Miffy. 

By  the  way,  is  our  Relationship  in  Nantucket  quite  worn- 
out  ?  I  have  met  with  none  from  thence  of  late  years,  who 
were  disposed  to  be  acquainted  with  me,  except  Captain 
Timothy  Foulger.  They  are  wonderfully  shy.  But  I  ad- 
mire their  honest  plainness  of  Speech.  About  a  year  ago  I 
invited  two  of  them  to  dine  with  me.  Their  answer  was,  that 
they  would,  if  they  could  not  do  better.  I  suppose  they  did 
better ;  for  I  never  saw  them  afterwards,  and  so  had  no  Op- 
portunity of  showing  my  Miff,  if  I  had  one. 

Give  [mutilated]  to  Cousin  Williams's  and  thank  them 
from  me  for  all  their  Kindnesses  to  you  which  I  have  always 

VOL.  X — D 

34         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

been  acquainted  with  by  you,  and  take  as  if  done  by  my- 
self. I  am  sorry  to  learn  from  his  Son  that  his  Health  is 
not  so  firm  as  formerly.  A  Journey  hither  by  Land  might 
do  him  good,  and  I  should  be  happy  to  see  him. 

I  shall  make  the  Addition  you  desire  to  my  Superscrip- 
tions, desiring  in  return  that  you  would  make  a  subtraction 
from  yours.  The  Word  Excellency  does  not  belong  to  me, 
and  Doctor  will  be  sufficient  to  distinguish  me  from  my  grand- 
son.1 This  family  joins  in  love  to  you  and  yours. 

Your  affectionate  Brother 


1766.    TO  M.  LE  VEILLARD  (L.  c.) 

Philadelphia,  Sepr  5,  1789. 

DEAR  FRIEND:  —  I  have  had  Notice  of  sundry  Books 
sent  out  by  you,  but  none  of  them  are  come  to  hand  except 
the  "  Dictionnaire  d' Agriculture,"  by  1'Abbe"  Rozier.  My 
Grandson  also  complains  of  not  receiving  a  Package  or  Case 
sent  by  you  to  him,  he  knows  not  by  what  Conveyance,  nor 
where  to  enquire  for  it. 

It  is  long  since  I  have  had  the  Pleasure  of  hearing  from  you, 
the  last  Letter  I  have  received  being  dated  the  2ist  of  Feb- 
ruary, but  when  I  have  no  new  Letter  from  you,  I  console  my- 
self by  reading  over  some  of  the  old  ones,  as  I  have  lately  done 
those  of  the  ist  April,  '88,  and  the  zoth  of  Oct*  and  2;th 

1  On  this  point  his  sister  replied :  "  I  was  a  little  suspicious  whether 
Excellency-was  according  to  rule  in  addressing  my  brother  at  this  time;  but  I 
did  not  write  the  address;  and  of  late,  because  he  lives  nearer  than  cousin 
Williams,  I  have  sent  my  letters  to  Dr.  Lathrop,  who  is  very  obliging  to  me, 
and  I  thought  he  must  know  what  is  right,  and  I  gave  no  directions  about  it. 
But  I  shall  do  it  another  time."  —  August  23 d, —  S. 

1789]  TO  M.  LE   VEILLARD  35 

NovT,  '88.  Every  time  I  read  what  you  write,  I  receive 
fresh  Pleasure,  I  have  already  answered  those  last-mentioned 
Letters,  and  now  have  before  me  that  of  the  2ist  of  Feby 
only.  I  am  sorry  my  Friend  Morris  failed  in  the  Attention 
he  ought  to  have  shown  you  but  I  hope  you  will  excuse  it 
when  you  consider  that  an  American  transported  from  the 
tranquil  Villages  of  his  Country  and  set  down  in  the  Tour- 
billon  of  such  a  great  City  as  Paris  must  necessarily  be  for 
some  Days  half  out  of  his  Senses. 

I  hope  you  have  perfectly  recovered  of  the  Effects  of  your 
Fall  at  Madam  Helve  tius',  and  that  you  now  enjoy  perfect 
Health ;  as  to  mine,  I  can  give  you  no  good  Account.  I  have 
a  long  time  been  afflicted  with  almost  constant  and  grievous 
Pain,  to  combat  which  I  have  been  obliged  to  have  recourse 
to  Opium,  which  indeed  has  afforded  me  some  Ease  from 
time  to  time,  but  then  it  has  taken  away  my  Appetite  and 
so  impeded  my  Digestion  that  I  am  become  totally  emaciated, 
and  little  remains  of  me  but  a  Skeleton  covered  with  a  Skin. 
In  this  Situation  I  have  not  been  able  to  continue  my  Memoirs, 
and  now  I  suppose  I  shall  never  finish  them.  Benjamin 
has  made  a  Copy  of  what  is  done,  for  you,  which  shall  be  sent 
by  the  first  safe  Opportunity.  I  make  no  Remarks  to  you 
concerning  your  Public  Affairs,  being  too  remote  to  form 
just  Opinions  concerning  them;  indeed  I  wonder  that  you, 
who  are  at  the  same  Distance  from  us,  make  so  very  few 
Mistakes  in  your  Judgment  of  our  Affairs.  At  present  we 
think  them  in  a  good  Way;  the  Congress  are  employed  in 
amending  some  of  their  Faults  supposed  to  be  in  our  Con- 
stitution, and  it  is  expected  that  in  a  few  Weeks  the  Machine 
will  be  in  orderly  Motion.  The  Piece  of  M.  Target,  which 
you  mention  as  having  sent  me,  is  not  come  to  hand.  I  am 

36         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

sorry  to  hear  of  the  Scarcity  which  has  afflicted  your  Country, 
we  have  had  here  a  most  plentiful  Harvest  of  all  the  Produc- 
tions of  the  Earth  without  Exception,  and  I  suppose  some 
Supplies  will  be  sent  to  you  from  hence,  tho'  the  Term  during 
which  the  Importation  was  permitted  by  your  Government 
was  too  short  considering  the  Distance. 

My  Family  join  in  every  affectionate  Sentiment  respecting 
you  and  yours,  with  your  sincere  Friend, 


COURT  OF  THE  PRESS  (L.  c.) 


Power  of  this  Court. 

IT  may  receive  and  promulgate  accusations  of  all  kinds, 
against  all  persons  and  characters  among  the  citizens  of  the 
State,  and  even  against  all  inferior  courts;  and  may  judge, 
sentence,  and  condemn  to  infamy,  not  only  private  individ- 
uals, but  public  bodies,  &c.,  with  or  without  inquiry  or 
hearing,  at  the  court's  discretion. 

In  whose  Favour  and  for  whose  Emolument  this  Court  is 


In  favour  of  about  one  citizen  in  five  hundred,  who,  by 
education  or  practice  in  scribbling,  has  acquired  a  tolerable 
style  as  to  grammar  and  construction,  so  as  to  bear  printing ; 
or  who  is  possessed  of  a  press  and  a  few  types.  This  five 


hundredth  part  of  the  citizens  have  the  privilege  of  accusing 
and  abusing  the  other  four  hundred  and  ninety-nine  parts 
at  their  pleasure ;  or  they  may  hire  out  their  pens  and  press 
to  others  for  that  purpose. 

Practice  0}  the  Court. 

It  is  not  governed  by  any  of  the  rules  of  common  courts  of 
law.  The  accused  is  allowed  no  grand  jury  to  judge  of  the 
truth  of  the  accusation  before  it  is  publicly  made,  nor  is  the 
Name  of  the  Accuser  made  known  to  him,  nor  has  he  an 
Opportunity  of  confronting  the  Witnesses  against  him;  for 
they  are  kept  in  the  dark,  as  in  the  Spanish  Court  of  Inquisi- 
tion. Nor  is  there  any  petty  Jury  of  his  Peers,  sworn  to  try 
the  Truth  of  the  Charges.  The  Proceedings  are  also  some- 
times so  rapid,  that  an  honest,  good  Citizen  may  find  himself 
suddenly  and  unexpectedly  accus'd,  and  in  the  same  Morn- 
ing judg'd  and  condemn'd,  and  sentence  pronounc'd  against 
him,  that  he  is  a  Rogue  and  a  Villain.  Yet,  if  an  officer  of 
this  court  receives  the  slightest  check  for  misconduct  in  this 
his  office,  he  claims  immediately  the  rights  of  a  free  citizen 
by  the  constitution,  and  demands  to  know  his  accuser,  to 
confront  the  witnesses,  and  to  have  a  fair  trial  by  a  jury  of 
his  peers. 

The  Foundation  of  its  Authority. 

It  is  said  to  be  founded  on  an  Article  of  the  Constitution 
of  the  State,  which  establishes  the  Liberty  of  the  Press;  a 
Liberty  which  every  Pennsylvanian  would  fight  and  die  for; 
tho'  few  of  us,  I  believe,  have  distinct  Ideas  of  its  Nature 
and  Extent.  It  seems  indeed  somewhat  like  the  Liberty  of 
the  Press  that  Felons  have,  by  the  Common  Law  of  England, 

38         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

before  Conviction,  that  is,  to  be  pressed  to  death  or  hanged. 
If  by  the  Liberty  of  the  Press  were  understood  merely  the 
Liberty  of  discussing  the  Propriety  of  Public  Measures  and 
political  opinions,  let  us  have  as  much  of  it  as  you  please : 
But  if  it  means  the  Liberty  of  affronting,  calumniating,  and 
defaming  one  another,  I,  for  my  part,  own  myself  willing  to 
part  with  my  Share  of  it  when  our  Legislators  shall  please 
so  to  alter  the  Law,  and  shall  cheerfully  consent  to  exchange 
my  Liberty  of  Abusing  others  for  the  Privilege  of  not  being 
abus'd  myself. 

By  whom  this  Court  is  commissioned  or  constituted. 

It  is  not  by  any  Commission  from  the  Supreme  Executive 
Council,  who  might  previously  judge  of  the  Abilities,  Integrity, 
Knowledge,  &c.  of  the  Persons  to  be  appointed  to  this  great 
Trust,  of  deciding  upon  the  Characters  and  good  Fame  of 
the  Citizens ;  for  this  Court  is  above  that  Council,  and  may 
accuse,  judge,  and  condemn  it,  at  pleasure.  Nor  is  it  hereditary, 
as  in  the  Court  of  dernier  Resort,  in  the  Peerage  of  England. 
But  any  Man  who  can  procure  Pen,  Ink,  and  Paper,  with  a 
Press,  and  a  huge  pair  of  BLACKING  Balls,  may  commissionate 
himself;  and  his  court  is  immediately  established  in  the 
plenary  Possession  and  exercise  of  its  rights.  For,  if  you 
make  the  least  complaint  of  the  judge's  conduct,  he  daubs 
his  blacking  balls  in  your  face  wherever  he  meets  you ;  and, 
besides  tearing  your  private  character  to  flitters,  marks  you 
out  for  the  odium  of  the  public,  as  an  enemy  to  the  liberty  of 
the  press. 

Of  the  natural  Support  of  these  Courts. 

Their  support  is  founded  in  the  depravity  of  such  minds, 
as  have  not  been  mended  by  religion,  nor  improved  by  good 
education ; 


"  There  is  a  Lust  in  Man  no  Charm  can  tame, 
Of  loudly  publishing  his  Neighbour's  Shame." 

Hence ; 

"  On  Eagle's  Wings  immortal  Scandals  fly, 
While  virtuous  Actions  are  but  born  and  die." 


Whoever  feels  pain  in  hearing  a  good  character  of  his 
neighbour,  will  feel  a  pleasure  in  the  reverse.  And  of  those 
who,  despairing  to  rise  into  distinction  by  their  virtues,  are 
happy  if  others  can  be  depressed  to  a  level  with  themselves, 
there  are  a  number  sufficient  in  every  great  town  to  maintain 
one  of  these  courts  by  their  subscriptions.  A  shrewd  ob- 
server once  said,  that,  in  walking  the  streets  in  a  slippery 
morning,  one  might  see  where  the  good-natured  people  lived 
by  the  ashes  thrown  on  the  ice  before  their  doors ;  probably 
he  would  have  formed  a  different  conjecture  of  the  temper 
of  those  whom  he  might  find  engaged  in  such  a  subscription. 

Of  the  Checks  proper  to  be  established  against  the  Abuse  of 
Power  in  these  Courts. 

Hitherto  there  are  none.  But  since  so  much  has  been 
written  and  published  on  the  federal  Constitution,  and  the 
necessity  of  checks  in  all  other  parts  of  good  government 
has  been  so  clearly  and  learnedly  explained,  I  find  myself 
so  far  enlightened  as  to  suspect  some  check  may  be  proper  in 
this  part  also ;  but  I  have  been  at  a  loss  to  imagine  any  that 
may  not  be  construed  an  infringement  of  the  sacred  liberty 
of  the  press.  At  length,  however,  I  think  I  have  found  one 
that,  instead  of  diminishing  general  liberty,  shall  augment 
it ;  which  is,  by  restoring  to  the  people  a  species  of  liberty, 
of  which  they  have  been  deprived  by  our  laws,  I  mean  the 
liberty  of  the  cudgel.  In  the  rude  state  of  society  prior  to  the 

40          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

existence  of  laws,  if  one  man  gave  another  ill  language,  the 
affronted  person  would  return  it  by  a  box  on  the  ear,  and,  if 
repeated,  by  a  good  drubbing;  and  this  without  offending 
against  any  law.  But  now  the  right  of  making  such  returns 
is  denied,  and  they  are  punished  as  breaches  of  the  peace; 
while  the  right  of  abusing  seems  to  remain  in  full  force,  the 
laws  made  against  it  being  rendered  ineffectual  by  the  liberty 
of  the  press. 

My  proposal  then  is,  to  leave  the  liberty  of  the  press  un- 
touched, to  be  exercised  in  its  full  extent,  force,  and  vigor; 
but  to  permit  the  liberty  of  the  cudgel  to  go  with  it  pari  passu. 
Thus,  my  fellow-citizens,  if  an  impudent  writer  attacks  your 
reputation,  dearer  to  you  perhaps  than  your  life,  and  puts 
his  name  to  the  charge,  you  may  go  to  him  as  openly  and 
break  his  head.  If  he  conceals  himself  behind  the  printer, 
and  you  can  nevertheless  discover  who  he  is,  you  may  in  like 
manner  way-lay  him  in  the  night,  attack  him  behind,  and  give 
him  a  good  drubbing.  Thus  far  goes  my  project  as  to  private 
resentment  and  retribution.  But  if  the  public  should  ever 
happen  to  be  affronted,  as  it  ought  to  be,  with  the  conduct  of 
such  writers,  I  would  not  advise  proceeding  immediately 
to  these  extremities ;  but  that  we  should  in  moderation  con- 
tent ourselves  with  tarring  and  feathering,  and  tossing  them 
in  a  blanket. 

If,  however,  it  should  be  thought  that  this  proposal  of  mine 
may  disturb  the  public  peace,  I  would  then  humbly  recom- 
mend to  our  legislators  to  take  up  the  consideration  of  both 
liberties,  that  of  the  press,  and  that  of  the  cudgel,  and  by  an 
explicit  law  mark  their  extent  and  limits ;  and,  at  the  same 
time  that  they  secure  the  person  of  a  citizen  from  assaults, 
they  would  likewise  provide  for  the  security  of  his  reputation. 


1768.    TO   GEORGE  WASHINGTON1     (L.  c.) 

Philada,  Sept.  16,  1789 


My  Malady  renders  my  Sitting  up  to  write  rather  painful 
to  me ;  but  I  cannot  let  my  Son-in-law  Mr.  Bache  part  for 
New  York,  without  congratulating  you  by  him  on  the  Re- 
covery of  your  Health,  so  precious  to  us  all,  and  on  the  grow- 
ing Strength  of  our  New  Government  under  your  Adminis- 
tration. For  my  own  personal  Ease,  I  should  have  died  two 
Years  ago;  but,  tho'  those  Years  have  been  spent  in  excru- 
ciating Pain,  I  am  pleas'd  that  I  have  liv'd  them,  since  they 
have  brought  me  to  see  our  present  Situation.  I  am  now 
finishing  my  84th  [year],  and  probably  with  it  my  Career 
in  this  Life ;  but  in  whatever  State  of  Existence  I  am  plac'd 
hereafter,  if  I  retain  any  Memory  of  what  has  pass'd  here, 
I  shall  with  it  retain  the  Esteem,  Respect,  and  Affection, 
with  which  I  have  long  been,  my  dear  Friend,  yours  most 
sincerely,  B.  FRANKLIN.2 

1  In  Washington  Papers,  Vol.  74,  p.  132. —  ED. 

2  Washington  replied  to  this  letter  as  follows:  — 

"  New  York,  September,  23,  1789.     (A.  P.  s.) 
"  DEAR  SIR, 

"  The  affectionate  congratulations  on  the  recovery  of  my  health,  and  the 
warm  expressions  of  personal  friendship,  which  were  contained  in  your  letter 
of  the  i6th  instant,  claim  my  gratitude.  And  the  consideration,  that  it  was 
written  when  you  were  afflicted  with  a  painful  malady,  greatly  increases  my 
obligation  for  it. 

"  Would  to  God,  my  dear  Sir,  that  I  could  congratulate  you  upon  the 
removal  of  that  excruciating  pain,  under  which  you  labour,  and  that  your  exist- 
ence might  close  with  as  much  ease  to  yourself,  as  its  continuance  has  been 
beneficial  to  our  country  and  useful  to  mankind;  or,  if  the  united  wishes  of  a 
free  people,  joined  with  the  earnest  prayers  of  every  friend  to  science  and 
humanity,  could  relieve  the  body  from  pains  or  infirmities,  that  you  could 

42         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1789 

1769.    TO   COMTE   DE   MONTMORIN l    (L.  c.) 

Philadelphia  21°'  Sept.  1789. 

SIR  :  —  Tho'  I  have  not  the  Vanity  to  suppose  that  I  have 
any  Influence  with  your  Excellency,  yet  I  cannot  at  the  re- 
quest of  Mr.  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont,  Jr.,  refuse  him  this  Testi- 
mony of  my  Regard.  He  has  resided  in  this  Country  near 
four  Years,  during  which  time  he  has  constantly  conducted 
himself  with  so  much  Probity  and  Discretion  as  to  gain  the 
esteem  of  all  Ranks,  and  by  his  living  in  the  House  of  M.  de 
Marbois,  Consul  of  France  at  this  Port,  who  has  occasionally 
employ'd  him  in  the  Duties  of  that  office,  he  has  thereby 
acquired  a  Knowledge  of  that  Business,  sufficient  to  enable 
him  to  execute  it.  Should  it  please  your  Excellency  to  appoint 
him  in  the  Room  of  M.  de  Marbois,  who,  as  I  understand,  is 
likely  to  be  otherwise  provided  for.  By  M.  de  Chaumont's 
Knowledge  of  the  Business,  the  Language  of  the  Country, 
and  the  high  Esteem  in  which  he  is  held  here,  I  am  Confident 
that  his  appointment  would  be  both  useful  to  his  Sovereign 
and  agreable  to  the  Government  and  Citizens  of  this  State. 

claim  an  exemption  on  this  score.  But  this  cannot  be,  and  you  have  within 
yourself  the  only  resource  to  which  we  can  confidently  apply  for  relief,  a  philo- 
sophic mind. 

"  If  to  be  venerated  for  benevolence,  if  to  be  admired  for  talents,  if  to  be 
esteemed  for  patriotism,  if  to  be  beloved  for  philanthropy,  can  gratify  the  human 
mind,  you  must  have  the  pleasing  consolation  to  know,  that  you  have  not  lived 
in  vain.  And  I  flatter  myself  that  it  will  not  be  ranked  among  the  least  grateful 
occurrences  of  your  life  to  be  assured,  that,  so  long  as  I  retain  my  memory,  you 
will  be  recollected  with  respect,  veneration,  and  affection  by  your  sincere 
friend,  "GEORGE  WASHINGTON." — ED. 

1  Armand-Marc,  Comte  de  Montmorin  —  Saint-Herem  (1745-1792),  was 
appointed  in  1787  minister  of  foreign  affairs.  —  ED. 

1789]  TO  "SYLVANUS  URBAN  ESQ."  43 

I  hope  your  Excellency  will  excuse  the  Liberty  I  have  taken, 
and  believe  me,  with  great  Respect,  sir  your  Excellency,  etc. 


1770.    TO   MRS.   JANE  MECOM         (L.  c.) 

Philada.,  October  19,  1789. 

DEAR  SISTER  :  —  I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  September 
the  loth,  by  Cousin  John  Williams.  I  have  also  received 
and  paid  your  Bill,  and  am  pleased  that  you  added  to  it  on 
Account  of  your  Wood.  As  to  my  Health,  it  continues  as 
usual,  —  sometimes  better,  sometimes  worse,  —  and  with 
respect  to  the  Happiness  hereafter  which  you  mention,  I 
have  no  Doubts  about  it,  confiding  as  I  do  in  the  goodness 
of  that  Being  who,  thro'  so  long  a  Life,  has  conducted  me 
with  so  many  Instances  of  it.  This  Family  joins  in  best 
wishes  of  Happiness  to  you  and  your's  with  your  affectionate 
Brother,  B.  FRANKLIN. 

1771.    TO   "SYLVANUS   URBAN   ESQ."         (L.  c.) 

New  York,  Oct.  20,  1789 

IN  your  valuable  Magazine1  for  July,  1788, 1  find  a  review 
of  Dr.  Kippis'  "Life  of  Cook,"  containing  the  following 
Remark,  viz.:  "The  Protection  afforded  to  this  Discoverer 
by  the  Court  of  France  redounds  highly  to  Mr.  Turgot's 
Honour,  while  the  narrow-souled  Americans  did  all  they  could 
to  obstruct  him."  I  think  the  Writer  of  this  Remark  will 

1  The  Gentleman's  Magazine,  It  was  edited  in  1788  and  1789  by  J. 
Nichols  and  D.  Henry.  The  latter  is  to  be  understood  as  the  "  Sylvanus 
Urban  "  to  whom  the  letter  is  addressed.  —  ED. 

44         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

find  it  difficult  to  produce  a  single  Instance,  well  authenti- 
cated, of  any  such  Endeavour,  used  by  the  Americans ;  but 
I  happen  to  have  it  in  my  Power  to  produce  a  strong  con- 
trary Instance,  which  I  send  you  enclosed,  and  doubt  not  of 
your  doing  so  much  Justice  to  the  Americans  as  to  make  this 
Refutation  of  the  Calumny  equally  public  with  the  Calumny 
itself,  by  inserting  it  also  in  your  Magazine.  It  is  a  true 
Copy  of  the  circular-Letter  sent  by  Dr.  Franklin  to  all  of 
the  Commanders  of  the  American  Cruisers,  then  in  the  Euro- 
pean Seas;  which  was  so  well  known  to  and  so  well  taken 
by  the  Government  in  England  that  when  Cook's  Voyage 
was  printed  the  Admiralty  sent  to  that  Gentleman  an  elegant 
Copy  of  it,  with  a  very  polite  Letter  from  Lord  Howe,  express- 
ing that  the  Present  was  made  with  his  Majesty's  Approba- 
tion. The  Royal  Society  also  on  the  same  Occasion  pre- 
sented him  with  one  of  the  Gold  Medals  struck  by  them  of 
that  illustrious  Navigator,  accompanied  by  a  Letter  from 
Sir  Joseph  Banks,  their  President,  expressing  likewise  that 
it  was  sent  with  the  Approbation  of  his  Majesty.  These 
I  have  seen ;  and  I  wonder  much  that  the  Writer,  who  gives 
so  particular  an  Account  of  the  Distribution  of  those  gold 
Medals,  should  be  unacquainted  with  this  Circumstance. 

I  am  etc. 


1772.    TO   JONATHAN  WILLIAMS1      (P.  c.) 

Philada  Oct.  26,  1789 


I  received  your  Letter  from  Boston  just  as  you  were  about 
to  depart  for  Virginia  together  with  your  Father's  Account 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Louis  A.  Biddle.  —  ED. 


which  makes  a  Balance  of  upwards  of  £20.  due  to  me. 
As  he  has  taken  a  great  deal  of  Trouble  in  my  Sister's  Affairs 
I  do  not  think  it  right  to  expect  Payment  of  that  Ballance 
and  have  therefore  wrote  to  him  by  your  Brother  enclosing  a 
Receipt  in  full  for  the  same. 

I  am  glad  you  have  disposed  of  the  little  Book  for  my 
Sister  tho'  at  so  low  a  rate.  If  you  go  from  Virginia  to  Eng- 
land without  calling  here  give  my  Love  to  your  Wife  and 
Sisters,  and  to  Mr.  Alexander,  your  Uncle,  and  let  Mrs. 
Williams  know  that  I  shall  be  happy  to  see  her  and  her  sweet 
Girl  arrive  here  with  you.  My  best  Wishes  attend  you, 

being  ever, 

Your  affectionate  Uncle 


1773.    TO  WILLIAM  ALEXANDER      (L.  c.) 

Philadelphia,  Oct.  26,  1789 


You  may  remember,  that  two  or  three  Years  ago,  I  com- 
municated to  you  a  Claim  I  had  upon  the  State  of  Virginia, 
on  Account  of  a  Purchase  it  had  made  of  some  Types  &  other 
printing  Materials  belonging  to  me  at  the  Beginning  of  the 
Troubles ;  The  Value  could  not  at  that  Time  be  ascertained. 
Mr.  Bache,  my  Attorney,  being  unacquainted  with  it ;  &  my 
Papers  and  Accounts  being  lost  &  destroyed  during  the 
late  Confusions.  I  have  now  no  Means  of  discovering  what 
the  Quantity  was  of  the  Types  &  what  they  cost  me  ;  I 
only  remember  that  there  was  a  Fount  of  Law-Character 
for  which  I  paid  30^  Sterl?  &  a  large  Fount  of  Greek  which 
I  think  was  valued  at  about  40^  Sterl.  besides  a  very  con- 

46         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

siderable  Fount  of  Long-Primer,  the  Weight  of  which  I 
forget,  but  suppose  it  might  be  about  5oolb  which  at  1/6  per 
Ib  amounted  to  37^  io/  Sterl8.  There  were  also  some  Cases 
&  other  Things  of  which  I  cannot  speak  particularly.  You 
were  so  kind  as  to  offer  me  your  Assistance  in  procuring  from 
the  Government  some  Satisfaction  for  this  Claim,  I  now  take 
the  Liberty  to  request  that  you  would  endeavour  it  as  soon  as 
possible,  as  I  wish  to  have  all  my  Affairs  settled  before  my 
Departure:  The  Law-Fount  &  the  Greek  were  probably 
of  no  Use  to  the  Government,  &  I  should  be  willing  to  take 
them  back  if  they  still  exist,  and  are  entire.  I  suppose  that 
the  Value  of  Goods  at  that  Time  will  be  considered,  as  well 
as  the  Length  of  Time  during  which  the  Payment  has  been 
delayed.  I  submit  the  Whole  to  the  Honour  &  Equity  of 
the  Government,  &  shall  be  thankful  for  what  they  will  be 
pleased  to  allow  me.  My  best  Wishes  attend  you,  being  ever 
My  Dear  Friend, 

Your's  most  affectionately 


1774.    TO   DONATIEN  LE   RAY   DE   CHAUMONT, 

FILS  (L.  c.) 

Philadelphia,  Oct.  3i8t,  1789. 

DEAR  FRIEND  :  —  I  was  too  much  indisposed  yesterday 
to  write  in  answer  to  your  affecting  Letter,  but  I  have  con- 
sidered the  Case  very  attentively  and  will  now  give  you  the 
Result.  In  the  first  Place,  what  you  demand  of  me  is  im- 
practicable The  Sum  I  have  to  draw  upon  in  France  being 
but  little  more  than  half  of  what  you  require ;  and  upon  that 


small  Sum,  tho'  my  late  extraordinary  Expences  in  Building 
have  much  straitened  me  in  furnishing  my  ordinary  Ex- 
pences, I  dare  not  draw,  under  the  present  Circumstances 
of  Affairs  in  that  Country,  lest  thro'  the  Lowness  of  the  Funds 
I  should  lose  perhaps  half  my  Property  in  selling  out  to  pay 
the  Bills,  or  in  Case  of  public  Bankruptcy,  which  I  find  is 
apprehended  by  many  as  a  possible  Case,  my  Bills  should  be 
returned  under  a  Protest  which,  besides  the  Damages,  would 
extremely  embarrass  me.  By  the  last  Accounts  I  received 
I  suffered  a  loss  of  15  per  cent,  in  the  Sale  of  my  Funds  to 
produce  Money  for  the  Payment  of  a  Bill  for  10,000  Livres, 
which  I  sold  towards  the  End  of  the  last  Year,  and  we  now 
learn  from  the  public  Prints  that  the  new  proposed  Loan  of 
30  Millions  does  not  fill,  and  that  Mr.  Neckar  is  discouraged 
and  in  bad  Health,  which  together  has  occasioned  the  Funds 
to  fall  much  lower.  In  the  next  Place,  it  seems  to  me  that 
in  your  present  Circumstances  (excuse  my  Freedom  in  pre- 
suming to  give  you  my  Advice),  it  would  be  more  adviseable 
for  you  to  remain  here  a  few  Months  longer,  in  order  to  finish 
your  Affair  with  the  Congress.  They  meet  again  in  the  Be- 
ginning of  January,  and  there  is  no  Doubt  but  the  Officers 
thro'  whose  Hands  such  Affairs  must  pass,  will  be  present, 
and  your  Accounts  having  been  already  examined  and  passed, 
I  am  of  your  Opinion,  that  they  will  probably  be  some  of  the 
first  paid.  Money,  I  think,  will  not  be  wanting,  as  it  is 
thought  that  the  immense  Importation  of  Goods  lately  made 
into  this  Port  must  produce  at  least  one-fourth  of  the  Import 
expected  from  the  whole  of  the  United  States.  If  you  should 
be  absent  at  the  next  Meeting  of  Congress  it  may  occasion  a 
still  further  Delay  of  Payment  for  want  of  somebody  present 
to  solicit  the  Business,  which  would  be  a  further  Prejudice 


to  the  Creditors.  If  you  should  conclude  to  stay  I  would  write 
a  letter  to  your  Father,  which  he  might  show  to  them,  ex- 
pressing that  your  Stay  was  by  my  Counsel,  with  the  Reasons, 
and  that  as  soon  as  the  Congress  should  meet  I  would  sup- 
port your  Application  for  immediate  Payment  with  my 
strongest  Interest.  This  Delay  of  two  or  three  Months,  I 
should  think,  cannot  make  much  Difference  hi  your  Father's 
Affairs,  the  present  Disorders  of  that  Country  being  con- 
sidered :  Or  if  you  apprehend,  as  you  have  mentioned,  that 
the  Creditors  may  suspect  your  having  an  Intention  of 
assuming  to  your  own  Use  the  Property  of  your  Father, 
you  may,  to  prevent  such  Suspicions,  offer  the  Creditors 
to  deliver  up  to  them  or  to  any  Person  they  shall  please 
to  appoint,  all  the  Papers  ascertaining  your  [imperfect] 

1775.    TO  ROBERT  MORRIS  (L.  c.) 

Philada.,  Nov.  2,  1789 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  I  should  be  glad  if  it  might  suit  you  to  spare 
half  an  Hour  some  Day  this  Week,  to  settle  between  us  the 
Loss  that  accrued  on  the  Sale  of  my  Funds  in  France,  for 
the  Payment  of  the  Bills  I  furnished  you  with.  The  sooner 
the  better,  as  I  find  myself  growing  weaker  daily,  and  less  fit 
for  Business. 

I  am  your  affectionate  Friend  and  humble  Servant, 


P.  S.  —  I  enclose  the  two  last  Letters  received  from  Messrs. 
Grand  &  Co.,  together  with  their  Account,  from  which  you 
may,  at  your  Leisure,  make  the  Computation.  By  the 


Letters  you  will  perceive  the  care  that  was  taken  to  choose 
the  most  favourable  Time  for  the  Sale  of  those  Funds.  As 
I  reckon  it,  there  is  10^  per  cent,  loss  on  16,000  livres  of  the 
23,000  sold  on  the  23d  of  March,  and  8  per  cent,  loss  on  the 
80,000  sold  April  the  8th. 

1776.    TO   JAMES  LOGAN  (L.  c.) 

Philada.,  Nov.  2,  1789. 

DEAR  SIR  :  —  Apprehending  there  is  some  Danger  of  my 
slipping  through  your  Fingers  if  the  Business  we  are  engaged 
in  is  longer  delayed,  I  feel  uneasy  till  the  vacant  Trusteeships 
are  filled  up,  and  the  Deed  recorded.  I  wish  therefore  it 
may  be  agreable  to  you  that  we  have  a  Meeting  soon  for  that 

With  great  Esteem  and  Respect,  I  am,  sir,  your  most 

obedient  humble  Servant, 



Philadelphia,  November  2,  1789. 

I  received  your  kind  letter  of  August  8th.  I  thank  you 
much  for  your  intimations  of  the  virtues  of  hemlock,  but  I 
have  tried  so  many  things  with  so  little  effect,  that  I  am  quite 
discouraged,  and  have  no  longer  any  faith  in  remedies  for 
the  stone.  The  palliating  system  is  what  I  am  now  fixed  in. 
Opium  gives  me  ease  when  I  am  attacked  by  pain,  and  by  the 

1  First  printed  by  Sparks,  Vol.  X,  p.  397.  —  ED. 
VOL.  x  —  E 

50         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

use  of  it  I  still  make  life  at  least  tolerable.  Not  being  able, 
however,  to  bear  sitting  to  write,  I  now  make  use  of  the  hand 
of  one  of  my  grandsons,  dictating  to  him  from  my  bed. 

I  wish,  indeed,  I  had  tried  this  method  sooner;  for  so,  I 
think,  I  might  by  this  time  have  finished  my  Memoirs,  in 
which  I  have  made  no  progress  for  these  six  months  past. 
I  have  now  taken  the  resolution  to  endeavour  com- 
pleting them  in  this  way  of  dictating  to  an  amanuensis. 
What  is  already  done,  I  now  send  you,  with  an  earnest  re- 
quest that  you  and  my  good  friend  Dr.  Price  would  be  so 
good  as  to  take  the  trouble  of  reading  it,  critically  examining 
it,  and  giving  me  your  candid  opinion  whether  I  had  best 
publish  or  suppress  it ;  and  if  the  first,  then  .what  parts  had 
better  be  expunged  or  altered.  I  shall  rely  upon  your  opin- 
ions, for  I  am  now  grown  so  old  and  feeble  in  mind,  as  well 
as  body,  that  I  cannot  place  any  confidence  in  my  own  judg- 
ment. In  the  mean  time,  I  desire  and  expect  that  you  will 
not  suffer  any  copy  of  it,  or  of  any  part  of  it,  to  be  taken  for 
any  purpose  whatever. 

You  present  me  with  a  pleasing  idea  of  the  happiness  I 
might  have  enjoyed  in  a  certain  great  house,  and  in  the  con- 
versation of  its  excellent  owner,  and  his  well  chosen  guests, 
if  I  could  have  spent  some  more  time  in  England.  That  is 
now  become  impossible.  My  best  wishes,  however,  attend 
him  and  his  amiable  son,  in  whose  promising  virtues  and 
abilities  I  am  persuaded  the  father  will  find  much  satisfaction. 

The  revolution  in  France  is  truly  surprising.  I  sincerely 
wish  it  may  end  in  establishing  a  good  constitution  for  that 
country.  The  mischiefs  and  troubles  it  suffers  in  the  opera- 
tion, however,  give  me  great  concern. 

You  request  advice  from  me  respecting  your  conduct  and 


writings,  and  desire  me  to  tell  you  their  faults.  As  to  your 
conduct,  I  know  of  nothing  that  looks  like  a  fault,  except  your 
declining  to  act  in  any  public  station,  although  you  are  cer- 
tainly qualified  to  do  much  public  good  in  many  you  must 
have  had  it  in  your  power  to  occupy.  In  respect  to  your 
writings,  your  language  seems  to  me  to  be  good  and  pure,  and 
your  sentiments  generally  just ;  but  your  style  of  composition 
wants  perspicuity,  and  this  I  think  owing  principally  to  a 
neglect  of  method.  What  I  would  therefore  recommend  to 
you  is,  that,  before  you  sit  down  to  write  on  any  subject,  you 
would  spend  some  days  in  considering  it,  putting  down  at  the 
same  time,  in  short  hints,  every  thought  which  occurs  to  you 
as  proper  to  make  a  part  of  your  intended  piece.  When  you 
have  thus  obtained  a  collection  of  the  thoughts,  examine 
them  carefully  with  this  view,  to  find  which  of  them  is  proper- 
est  to  be  presented  first  to  the  mind  of  the  reader,  that  he, 
being  possessed  of  that,  may  the  more  easily  understand  it, 
and  be  better  disposed  to  receive  what  you  intend  for  the 
second;  and  thus  I  would  have  you  put  a  figure  before  each 
thought,  to  mark  its  future  place  in  your  composition.  For 
so,  every  preceding  proposition  preparing  the  mind  for  that 
which  is  to  follow,  and  the  reader  often  anticipating  it,  he 
proceeds  with  ease,  and  pleasure,  and  approbation,  as  seeming 
continually  to  meet  with  his  own  thoughts.  In  this  mode 
you  have  a  better  chance  for  a  perfect  production ;  because, 
the  mind  attending  first  to  the  sentiments  alone,  next  to  the 
method  alone,  each  part  is  likely  to  be  better  performed,  and 
I  think  too  in  less  time. 

You  see  I  give  my  counsel  rather  bluntly,  without  attempt- 
ing to  soften  my  manner  of  finding  fault  by  any  apology, 
which  would  give  some  people  great  offence;  but  in  the 

52          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

present  situation  of  affairs  between  us,  when  I  am  soliciting 
the  advantage  of  your  criticisms  on  a  work  of  mine,  it  is  per- 
haps my  interest  that  you  should  be  a  little  offended,  in  order 
to  produce  a  greater  degree  of  wholesome  severity.  I  think 
with  you,  that,  if  my  Memoirs  are  to  be  published,  an  edition 
of  them  should  be  printed  in  England  for  that  country,  as 
well  as  here  for  this,  and  I  shall  gladly  leave  it  to  your 
friendly  management. 

We  have  now  had  one  session  of  Congress  under  our  new 
Constitution,  which  was  conducted  with,  I  think,  a  greater 
degree  of  temper,  prudence,  and  unanimity,  than  could  well 
have  been  expected,  and  our  future  prospects  seem  very 
favourable.  The  harvests  of  the  last  summer  have  been  un- 
commonly plentiful  and  good ;  yet  the  produce  bears  a  high 
price,  from  the  great  foreign  demand.  At  the  same  time, 
immense  quantities  of  foreign  goods  are  crowded  upon  us, 
so  as  to  overstock  the  market,  and  supply  us  with  what  we 
want  at  very  low  prices.  A  spirit  of  industry  and  frugality 
is  also  very  generally  prevailing,  which,  being  the  most  prom- 
ising sign  of  future  national  felicity,  gives  me  infinite  satis- 

Remember  me  most  respectfully  and  affectionately  to  your 
good  mother,  sisters,  and  brother,  and  also  to  my  dear  Dr. 
Price ;  and  believe  me,  my  dearest  friend,  yours  most  sincerely, 


P.  S.  I  have  not  received  the  Philosophical  Transactions 
for  the  two  or  three  last  years.  They  are  usually  laid  by  for 
me  at  the  Society's  house,  with  my  name  upon  them,  and 
remain  there  till  called  for.  I  shall  be  much  obliged  to  you, 
if  you  can  conveniently  take  them  up  and  send  them  to  me. 


Your  mention  of  plagiarism  puts  me  in  mind  of  a  charge 
of  the  same  kind,  which  I  lately  saw  in  the  British  Repository, 
concerning  the  Chapter  of  Abraham  and  the  Stranger.  Per- 
haps this  is  the  attack  your  letter  hints  at,  in  which  you 
defended  me.  The  truth  is,  as  I  think  you  observe,  that  I 
never  published  that  Chapter,  and  never  claimed  more  credit 
from  it,  than  what  related  to  the  style,  and  the  addition  of 
the  concluding  threatening  and  promise.  The  publishing 
of  it  by  Lord  Kames,  without  my  consent,  deprived  me  of  a 
good  deal  of  amusement,  which  I  used  to  take  in  reading  it 
by  heart  out  of  my  Bible,  and  obtaining  the  remarks  of  the 
Scripturians  upon  it,  which  were  sometimes  very  diverting; 
not  but  that  it  is  in  itself,  on  account  of  the  importance  of 
its  moral,  well  worth  being  made  known  to  all  mankind.1 
When  I  wrote  that  in  the  form  you  now  have  it,  I  wrote  also 
another,2  the  hint  of  which  was  also  taken  from  an  ancient 
Jewish  tradition;  but,  not  having  the  same  success  with  it 
as  the  other,  I  laid  it  aside,  and  have  not  seen  it  for  thirty 
years  past,  till  within  these  few  days  a  lady  of  my  acquaint- 
ance furnished  me  with  a  copy,  which  she  had  preserved. 
I  think  however  it  is  not  a  bad  one,  and  send  it  to  you  enclosed. 

1  See  the  "Parable  against  Persecution,"  Introduction,  Vol.  I,  p.  179. — 

8  Probably  the  "  Parable  on  Brotherly  Love."  —  S. 

54          THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 


SYLVANIA 1  (L.  c.) 


"Your  executive  should  consist  of  a  single  Person." 

On  this  I  would  ask,  Is  he  to  have  no  Council?  How  is 
he  to  be  informed  of  the  State  and  Circumstances  of  the 
different  Counties,  their  Wants,  their  Abilities,  their  Dis- 
positions, and  the  Characters  of  the  principal  People,  respect- 
ing their  Integrity,  Capacities,  and  Qualifications  for  Offices  ? 
Does  not  the  present  Construction  of  our  Executive  provide 
well  for  these  particulars?  And,  during  the  Number  of 
Years  it  has  existed,  have  its  Errors  or  Failures  in  answering 
the  End  of  its  Appointment  been  more  or  greater  than  might 
have  been  expected  from  a  single  Person? 

"  But  an  Individual  is  more  easily  watched  and  controlled 
than  any  greater  Number" 

On  this  I  would  ask,  Who  is  to  watch  and  controul  him? 
and  by  what  Means  is  he  to  be  controuled  ?  Will  not  those 
Means,  whatever  they  are,  and  in  whatever  Body  vested, 
be  subject  to  the  same  Inconveniencies  of  Expence,  Delay, 
Obstruction  of  good  Intentions,  &c.,  which  are  objected  to 
the  present  Executive? 

1  From  a  trans,  corrected  in  lead  pencil  by  Franklin.  The  "  Queries  and 
Remarks "  were  written  in  reply  to  a  paper  — "  Hints  for  the  Members  of 
Convention"  —  published  in  the  Federal  Gazette,  November  3,  1789.  —  ED. 



"This  should  be  governed  by  the  following  Principles,  the 
Independency  of  the  Magistrate,  and  the  Stability  of  his  Ad- 
ministration; neither  of  which  can  be  secured  but  by  putting 
both  beyond  the  Reach  of  every  annual  Gust  of  Folly  and  of 

On  this  it  may  be  asked,  ought  it  not  also  to  be  put  beyond 
the  Reach  of  every  triennial,  quinquennial,  or  septennial 
Gust  of  Folly  and  of  Faction,  and,  in  short,  beyond  the  Reach 
of  Folly  and  of  Faction  at  any  Period  whatever?  Does  not 
this  Reasoning  aim  at  establishing  a  Monarchy  at  least  for 
Life,  like  that  of  Poland?  or  to  prevent  the  Inconveniencies 
such  as  that  Kingdom  is  subject  to  in  a  new  Election  on  every 
Decease  does  it  not  point  to  an  hereditary  succession?  Are 
the  Freemen  of  Pennsylvania  convinced,  from  a  View  of  the 
History  of  such  Governments,  that  it  will  be  for  their  Advan- 
tage to  submit  themselves  to  a  Government  of  such  Construc- 


"A  plural  Legislature  is  as  necessary  to  good  Government 
as  a  single  Executive.  It  is  not  enough  that  your  Legislature 
should  be  numerous;  it  should  also  be  divided.  Numbers 
alone  are  not  a  sufficient  Barrier  against  the  Impulses  of  Pas- 
sion, the  Combinations  of  Interest,  the  Intrigues  of  Faction, 
the  Haste  of  Folly,  or  the  Spirit  of  Encroachment.  One 
Division  should  watch  over  and  controul  the  other,  supply  its 
Wants,  correct  its  Blunders,  and  cross  its  Designs,  should  they 
be  criminal  or  erroneous.  Wisdom  is  the  specific  Quality  of 
the  Legislature,  grows  out  of  the  Number  of  the  Body,  and  is 

56         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

made  up  of  the  Portions  of  Sense  and  Knowledge  which  each 
Member  brings  to  it." 

On  this  it  may  be  asked,  May  not  the  Wisdom  brought 
to  the  Legislature  by  each  Member  be  as  effectual  a  Barrier 
against  the  Impulses  of  Passion,  &c.,  when  the  Members 
are  united  in  one  Body,  as  when  they  are  divided?  If  one 
Part  of  the  Legislature  may  controul  the  Operations  of  the 
other,  may  not  the  Impulses  of  Passion,  the  Combinations 
of  Interest,  the  Intrigues  of  Faction,  the  Haste  of  Folly,  or 
the  Spirit  of  Encroachment  in  one  of  those  Bodies  obstruct 
the  good  proposed  by  the  other,  and  frustrate  its  Advantages 
to  the  Public  ?  Have  we  not  experienced  in  this  Colony,  when 
a  Province  under  the  Government  of  the  Proprietors,  the 
Mischiefs  of  a  second  Branch  existing  in  the  Proprietary 
Family,  countenanced  and  aided  by  an  Aristocratic  Council  ? 
How  many  Delays  and  what  great  Expences  were  occasioned 
in  carrying  on  the  public  Business;  and  what  a  Train  of 
Mischiefs,  even  to  the  preventing  of  the  Defence  of  the  Prov- 
ince during  several  Years,  when  distressed  by  an  Indian  war, 
by  the  iniquitous  Demand  that  the  Proprietary  Property  should 
be  exempt  from  Taxation !  The  Wisdom  of  a  few  Members  in 
one  single  Legislative  Body,  may  it  not  frequently  stifle  bad 
Motions  in  their  Infancy,  and  so  prevent  their  being  adopted  ? 
whereas,  if  those  wise  Men,  in  case  of  a  double  Legislature, 
should  happen  to  be  in  that  Branch  wherein  the  Motion  did 
not  arise,  may  it  not,  after  being  adopted  by  the  other, 
occasion  lengthy  Disputes  and  Contentions  between  the  two 
Bodies,  expensive  to  the  Public,  obstructing  the  public  Busi- 
ness, and  promoting  Factions  among  the  People,  many  Tem- 
pers naturally  adhering  obstinately  to  Measures  they  have 


once  publicly  adopted?  Have  we  not  seen,  in  one  of  our 
neighbouring  States,  a  bad  Measure,  adopted  by  one  Branch 
of  the  Legislature,  for  Want  of  the  Assistance  of  some  more 
intelligent  Members  who  had  been  packed  into  the  other, 
occasion  many  Debates,  conducted  with  much  Asperity, 
which  could  not  be  settled  but  by  an  expensive  general  Ap- 
peal to  the  People  ?  And  have  we  not  seen,  hi  another  neigh- 
bouring State,  a  similar  Difference  between  the  two  Branches, 
occasioning  long  Debates  and  Contentions,  whereby  the 
State  was  prevented  for  many  Months  enjoying  the  Advan- 
tage of  having  Senators  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States? 
And  has  our  present  Legislative  in  one  Assembly  committed 
any  Errors  of  Importance,  which  they  have  not  remedied, 
or  may  not  easily  remedy;  more  easily,  probably,  than  if 
divided  into  two  Branches?  And  if  the  Wisdom  brought 
by  the  Members  to  the  Assembly  is  divided  into  two  Branches, 
may  it  not  be  too  weak  in  each  to  support  a  good  Measure, 
or  obstruct  a  bad  one  ?  The  Division  of  the  Legislature  into 
two  or  three  Branches  in  England,  was  it  the  Product  of  Wis- 
dom, or  the  Effect  of  Necessity,  arising  from  the  preexisting 
Prevalence  of  an  odious  Feudal  System  ?  which  Government, 
notwithstanding  this  Division  is  now  become  in  Fact  an 
absolute  Monarchy;  since  the  King,  by  bribing  the  Repre- 
sentatives with  the  People's  Money,  carries,  by  his  Ministers, 
all  the  Measures  that  please  him;  which  is  equivalent  to 
governing  without  a  Parliament,  and  renders  the  Machine 
of  Government  much  more  complex  and  expensive,  and, 
from  its  being  more  complex,  more  easily  put  out  of  Order. 
Has  not  the  famous  political  Fable  of  the  Snake,  with  two 
Heads  and  one  Body,  some  useful  Instruction  contained  in  it  ? 
She  was  going  to  a  Brook  to  drink,  and  in  her  Way  was  to  pass 

58         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

thro'  a  Hedge,  a  Twig  of  which  opposed  her  direct  Course ; 
one  Head  chose  to  go  on  the  right  side  of  the  Twig,  the  other 
on  the  left ;  so  that  time  was  spent  in  the  Contest,  and,  before 
the  Decision  was  completed,  the  poor  Snake  died  with  thirst. 

"Hence  it  is  that  the  two  Branches  should  be  elected  by  Per- 
sons differently  qualified;  and  in  short,  that,  as  far  as  possible, 
they  should  be  made  to  represent  different  Interests.  Under 
this  Reasoning  I  would  establish  a  Legislature  of  two  Houses. 
The  Upper  should  represent  the  Property;  the  Lower  the 
Population  of  the  State.  The  upper  should  be  chosen  by 
Freemen  possessing  in  Lands  and  Houses  one  thousand 
Pounds;  the  Lower  by  all  such  as  had  resided  four  Years  in 
the  Country,  and  paid  Taxes.  The  first  should  be  chosen  for 
four,  the  last  for  two  years.  They  should  in  Authority  be  co- 

Several  Questions  may  arise  upon  this  Proposition,  ist. 
What  is  the  Proportion  of  Freemen  possessing  Lands  and 
Houses  of  one  thousand  Pounds'  value,  compared  to  that  of 
Freemen  whose  Possessions  are  inferior?  Are  they  as  one 
to  ten?  Are  they  even  as  one  to  twenty?  I  should  doubt 
whether  they  are  as  one  to  fifty.  If  this  minority  is  to  chuse 
a  Body  expressly  to  controul  that  which  is  to  be  chosen  by  the 
great  Majority  of  the  Freemen,  what  have  this  great  Majority 
done  to  forfeit  so  great  a  Portion  of  their  Right  in  Elections  ? 
Why  is  this  Power  of  Controul,  contrary  to  the  spirit  of  all 
Democracies,  to  be  vested  in  a  Minority,  instead  of  a  Majority  ? 
Then  is  it  intended,  or  is  it  not,  that  the  Rich  should  have  a 
Vote  in  the  Choice  of  Members  for  the  lower  House,  while 
those  of  inferior  Property  are  deprived  of  the  Right  of  voting 
for  Members  of  the  upper  House?  And  why  should  the 


upper  House,  chosen  by  a  Minority,  have  equal  Power  with 
the  lower  chosen  by  a  Majority  ?  Is  it  supposed  that  Wisdom 
is  the  necessary  concomitant  of  Riches,  and  that  one  Man 
worth  a  thousand  Pounds  must  have  as  much  Wisdom  as 
Twenty  who  have  each  only  999 ;  and  why  is  Property  to  be 
represented  at  all?  Suppose  one  of  our  Indian  Nations 
should  now  agree  to  form  a  civil  Society;  each  Individual 
would  bring  into  the  Stock  of  the  Society  little  more  Property 
than  his  Gun  and  his  Blanket,  for  at  present  he  has  no  other. 
We  know,  that,  when  one  of  them  has  attempted  to  keep  a  few 
Swine,  he  has  not  been  able  to  maintain  a  Property  in  them, 
his  neighbours  thinking  they  have  a  Right  to  kill  and  eat 
them  whenever  they  want  Provision,  it  being  one  of  their 
Maxims  that  hunting  is  free  for  all ;  the  accumulation  there- 
fore of  Property  in  such  a  Society,  and  its  Security  to  Individ- 
uals in  every  Society,  must  be  an  Effect  of  the  Protection 
afforded  to  it  by  the  joint  Strength  of  the  Society,  in  the  Exe- 
cution of  its  Laws.  Private  Property  therefore  is  a  Creature 
of  Society,  and  is  subject  to  the  Calls  of  that  Society,  when- 
ever its  Necessities  shall  require  it,  even  to  its  last  Farthing ; 
its  Contributions  therefore  to  the  public  Exigencies  are  not  to 
be  considered  as  conferring  a  Benefit  on  the  Publick,  entitling 
the  Contributors  to  the  Distinctions  of  Honour  and  Power, 
but  as  the  Return  of  an  Obligation  previously  received,  or 
the  Payment  of  a  just  Debt.  The  Combinations  of  Civil 
Society  are  not  like  those  of  a  Set  of  Merchants,  who  club 
their  Property  in  different  Proportions  for  Building  and 
Freighting  a  Ship,  and  may  therefore  have  some  Right  to 
vote  in  the  Disposition  of  the  Voyage  in  a  greater  or  less 
Degree  according  to  their  respective  Contributions;  but  the 
important  ends  of  Civil  Society,  and  the  personal  Securities 

60          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

of  Life  and  Liberty,  these  remain  the  same  in  every  Member 
of  the  society;  and  the  poorest  continues  to  have  an  equal 
Claim  to  them  with  the  most  opulent,  whatever  Difference 
Time,  Chance,  or  Industry  may  occasion  in  their  Circum- 
stances. On  these  Considerations,  I  am  sorry  to  see  the 
Signs  this  Paper  I  have  been  considering  affords,  of  a  Dis- 
position among  some  of  our  People  to  commence  an  Aris- 
tocracy, by  giving  the  Rich  a  predominancy  in  Government, 
a  Choice  peculiar  to  themselves  in  one  half  the  Legislature  to 
be  proudly  called  the  UPPER  House,  and  the  other  Branch, 
chosen  by  the  Majority  of  the  People,  degraded  by  the  De- 
nomination of  the  LOWER  ;  and  giving  to  this  upper  House  a 
Permanency  of  four  Years,  and  but  two  to  the  lower.  I  hope, 
therefore,  that  our  Representatives  in  the  Convention  will 
not  hastily  go  into  these  Innovations,  but  take  the  Advice  of 
the  Prophet,  "Stand  in  the  old  ways,  view  the  ancient  Paths, 
consider  them  well,  and  be  not  among  those  that  are  given  to 

1779.    TO   JOHN  WRIGHT 

Philadelphia,  November  4,  1789. 

I  received  your  kind  letter  of  July  the  3ist,  which  gave  me 
great  pleasure,  as  it  informed  me  of  the  welfare  both  of  your- 
self and  your  good  lady,  to  whom  please  to  present  my  respects. 
I  thank  you  for  the  epistle  of  your  yearly  meeting,  and  for  the 
card,  a  specimen  of  printing,  which  was  enclosed. 

We  have  now  had  one  session  of  Congress,  which  was  con- 
ducted under  our  new  Constitution,  and  with  as  much  general 
satisfaction  as  could  reasonably  be  expected.  I  wish  the 
struggle  in  France  may  end  as  happily  for  that  nation.  We 

1789]  TO  JOHN  WRIGHT  61 

are  now  in  the  full  enjoyment  of  our  new  government  for 
eleven  of  the  States,  and  it  is  generally  thought  that  North 
Carolina  is  about  to  join  it.  Rhode  Island  will  probably 
take  longer  time  for  consideration. 

We  have  had  a  most  plentiful  year  for  the  fruits  of  the  earth, 
and  our  people  seem  to  be  recovering  fast  from  the  extrava- 
gance and  idle  habits,  which  the  war  had  introduced;  and 
to  engage  seriously  in  the  country  habits  of  temperance,  fru- 
gality, and  industry,  which  give  the  most  pleasing  prospect 
of  future  national  felicity.  Your  merchants,  however,  are, 
I  think,  imprudent  in  crowding  in  upon  us  such  quantities  of 
goods  for  sale  here,  which  are  not  written  for  by  ours,  and  are 
beyond  the  faculties  of  this  country  to  consume  in  any  reason- 
able time.  This  surplus  of  goods  is,  therefore,  to  raise  present 
money,  sent  to  the  vendues,  or  auction-houses,  of  which  we 
have  six  or  seven  in  and  near  this  city ;  where  they  are  sold 
frequently  for  less  than  prime  cost,  to  the  great  loss  of  the 
indiscreet  adventurers.  Our  newspapers  are  doubtless  to  be 
seen  at  your  coffee-houses  near  the  Exchange.  In  their 
advertisements  you  may  observe  the  constancy  and  quantity 
of  this  kind  of  sales;  as  well  as  the  quantity  of  goods  im- 
ported by  our  regular  traders.  I  see  in  your  English  news- 
papers frequent  mention  of  our  being  out  of  credit  with  you ; 
to  us  it  appears,  that  we  have  abundantly  too  much,  and  that 
your  exporting  merchants  are  rather  out  of  their  senses. 

I  wish  success  to  your  endeavours  for  obtaining  an  aboli- 
tion of  the  Slave  Trade.  The  epistle  from  your  Yearly 
Meeting,  for  the  year  1758,  was  not  the  first  sowing  of  .the 
good  seed  you  mention ;  for  I  find  by  an  old  pamphlet  in  my 
possession,  that  George  Keith,  near  a  hundred  years  since, 
wrote  a  paper  against  the  practice,  said  to  be  "given  forth  by 

62          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

the  appointment  of  the  meeting  held  by  him,  at  Philip 
James's  house,  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia,  about  the  year 
1693;"  wherein  a  strict  charge  was  given  to  Friends,  "that 
they  should  set  their  negroes  at  liberty,  after  some  reasonable 
time  of  service,  &c.  &c."  And  about  the  year  1728,  or  1729, 
I  myself  printed  a  book  for  Ralph  Sandyford,  another  of 
your  Friends  in  this  city,  against  keeping  negroes  in  slavery ; 
two  editions  of  which  he  distributed  gratis.  And  about  the 
year  1736,  I  printed  another  book  on  the  same  subject  for 
Benjamin  Lay,  who  also  professed  being  one  of  your  Friends, 
and  he  distributed  the  books  chiefly  among  them.  By  these 
instances  it  appears,  that  the  seed  was  indeed  sown  in  the 
good  ground  of  your  profession,  though  much  earlier  than 
the  time  you  mention,  and  its  springing  up  to  effect  at  last, 
though  so  late,  is  some  confirmation  of  Lord  Bacon's  obser- 
vation, that  a  good  motion  never  dies;  and  it  may  encourage 
us  in  making  such,  though  hopeless  of  their  taking  immediate 

I  doubt  whether  I  shall  be  able  to  finish  my  Memoirs,  and, 
if  I  finish  them,  whether  they  will  be  proper  for  publication. 
You  seem  to  have  too  high  an  opinion  of  them,  and  to  expect 
too  much  from  them. 

I  think  you  are  right  in  preferring  a  mixed  form  of  govern- 
ment for  your  country,  under  its  present  circumstances ;  and 
if  it  were  possible  for  you  to  reduce  the  enormous  salaries  and 
emoluments  of  great  officers,  which  are  at  bottom  the  source 
of  all  your  violent  factions,  that  form  might  be  conducted  more 
quietly  and  happily ;  but  I  am  afraid,  that  none  of  your  fac- 
tions, when  they  get  uppermost,  will  ever  have  virtue  enough 
to  reduce  those  salaries  and  emoluments,  but  will  rather  choose 
to  enjoy  them. 

1789]  710  SAMUEL  MOORE  63 

I  enclose  a  bill  for  twenty-five  pounds,  for  which,  when 
received,  please  to  credit  my  account,  and  out  of  it  pay  Mr. 
Benjamin  Vaughan,  of  Jeffries  Square,  and  Mr.  William 
Vaughan,  his  brother,  of  Mincing  Lane,  such  accounts  against 
me  as  they  shall  present  to  you  for  that  purpose.  I  am,  my 
dear  friend,  yours  very  affectionately, 


1780.    TO   SAMUEL   MOORE1 

Philadelphia,  Novembers,  1789. 


I  received  your  favour  of  July  25th,  but  had  no  opportunity 
of  showing  any  civility  to  the  bearer,  whom  you  mention  as 
coming  under  the  auspices  of  William  Franklin,  as  he  did  not 
show  himself  to  me. 

I  am  obliged  by  your  kind  inquiries  after  my  health,  which 
is  still  tolerably  good,  the  stone  excepted;  my  constitution 
being  such,  as,  if  it  were  not  for  that  malady,  might  have  held 
out  yet  some  years  longer. 

I  hope  the  fire  of  liberty,  which  you  mention  as  spreading 
itself  over  Europe,  will  act  upon  the  inestimable  rights  of 
man,  as  common  fire  does  upon  gold;  purify  without  de- 
stroying them ;  so  that  a  lover  of  liberty  may  find  a  country 
in  any  part  of  Christendom. 

I  see  with  pleasure  in  the  public  prints,  that  our  Society 2 
is  still  kept  up  and  flourishes.  I  was  an  early  member ;  for, 
when  Mr.  Shipley  sent  me  a  list  of  the  subscribers,  they  were 

1  Secretary  of  the  London  Society  for  promoting  Arts,  Manufactures,  and 
Commerce.     Printed  from  Sparks,  Vol.  X,  p.  406.  —  ED. 

2  The  London  Society  for  promoting  Arts,  Manufactures,  and  Commerce. 

64          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

but  seventy ;  and,  though  I  had  no  expectation  then  of  going 
to  England,  and  acting  with  them,  I  sent  a  contribution  of 
twenty  guineas;  in  consideration  of  which  the  Society  were 
afterwards  pleased  to  consider  me  a  member. 

I  wish  to  the  exertions  of  your  manufacturers,  who  are  gen- 
erally excellent,  and  to  the  spirit  and  enterprise  of  your  mer- 
chants, who  are  famed  for  fair  and  honourable  dealing,  all  the 
success  they  merit  in  promoting  the  prosperity  of  your  coun- 

I  am  glad  our  friend  Small  enjoys  so  much  health,  and  his 
faculties  so  perfectly,  as  I  perceive  he  does  by  his  letters. 
I  know  not  whether  he  is  yet  returned  from  his  visit  to  Scot- 
land, and  therefore  give  you  the  trouble  of  the  enclosed.  My 
best  wishes  attend  you,  being  ever,  dear  Sir,  your  most  obe- 
dient servant, 


1781.    TO   ALEXANDER   SMALL1 

Philadelphia,  November  5,  1789. 


I  received  your  several  favours  of  April  23d,  May  gth,  and 
June  sd,  together  with  the  manuscript  concerning  Ventila- 
tion, which  will  be  inserted  in  our  next  volume. 

I  have  long  been  of  your  opinion,  that  your  legal  provision 
for  the  poor  is  a  very  great  evil,  operating  as  it  does  to  the 
encouragement  of  idleness.  We  have  followed  your  example, 
and  begin  now  to  see  our  error,  and,  I  hope,  shall  reform  it. 
I  find  by  your  letters,  that  every  man  has  patience  enough 
to  bear  calmly  and  coolly  the  injuries  done  to  other  people. 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  256.  —  ED. 

1789]  TO  ALEXANDER  SMALL  65 

You  have  perfectly  forgiven  the  royalists,  and  you  seem  to 
wonder,  that  we  should  still  retain  any  resentment  against 
them  for  their  joining  with  the  savages  to  burn  our  houses, 
and  murder  and  scalp  our  friends,  our  wives,  and  our  chil- 
dren. I  forget  who  it  was  that  said,  "We  are  commanded  to 
forgive  our  enemies,  but  we  are  nowhere  commanded  to  for- 
give our  friends."  Certain  it  is,  however,  that  atrocious  in- 
juries done  to  us  by  our  friends  are  naturally  more  deeply 
resented  than  the  same  done  by  enemies.  They  have  left 
us,  to  live  under  the  government  of  their  King  in  England 
and  Nova  Scotia.  We  do  not  miss  them,  nor  wish  their 
return ;  nor  do  we  envy  them  their  present  happiness. 

The  accounts  you  give  me  of  the  great  prospects  you  have 
respecting  your  manufactures,  agriculture,  and  commerce, 
are  pleasing  to  me ;  for  I  still  love  England  and  wish  it  pros- 
perity. You  tell  me,  that  the  government  of  France  is  abun- 
dantly punished  for  its  treachery  to  England  in  assisting  us. 
You  might  also  have  remarked,  that  the  government  of 
England  had  been  punished  for  its  treachery  to  France  in 
assisting  the  Corsicans,  and  in  seizing  her  ships  in  time  of  full 
peace,  without  any  previous  declaration  of  war.  I  believe 
governments  are  pretty  near  equal  in  honesty,  and  cannot 
with  much  propriety  praise  their  own  in  preference  to  that  of 
their  neighbours. 

You  do  me  too  much  honour  in  naming  me  with  Timoleon. 
I  am  like  him  only  in  retiring  from  my  public  labours ;  which 
indeed  my  stone,  and  other  infirmities  of  age,  have  made 
indispensably  necessary. 

I  hope  you  are  by  this  time  returned  from  your  visit  to  your 
native  country,  and  that  the  journey  has  given  a  firmer  con- 
sistence to  your  health.  Mr.  Perm's  property  in  this  country, 

VOL.  X  —  F 

66        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1789 

which  you  inquire  about,  is  still  immensely  great;  and  I 
understand  he  has  received  ample  compensation  in  England 
for  the  part  he  lost. 

I  think  you  have  made  a  happy  choice  of  rural  amusements ; 
the  protection  of  the  bees,  and  the  destruction  of  the  hop 
insect.  I  wish  success  to  your  experiments,  and  shall  be 
glad  to  hear  the  result.  Your  Theory  of  Insects  appears 
the  most  ingenious  and  plausible  of  any,  that  have  hitherto 
been  proposed  by  philosophers. 

Our  new  Constitution  is  now  established  with  eleven  States, 
and  the  accession  of  a  twelfth  is  soon  expected.  We  have 
had  one  session  of  Congress  under  it,  which  was  conducted 
with  remarkable  prudence,  and  a  good  deal  of  unanimity. 
Our  late  harvests  were  plentiful,  and  our  produce  still  fetches 
a  good  price,  through  an  abundant  foreign  demand  and  the 
flourishing  state  of  our  commerce.  I  am  ever,  my  dear  friend, 

yours  most  affectionately, 


1782.    AN  ADDRESS   TO  THE  PUBLIC; 


IT  is  with  peculiar  satisfaction  we  assure  the  friends  of 
humanity,  that,  in  prosecuting  the  design  of  our  association, 
our  endeavours  have  proved  successful,  far  beyond  our  most 
sanguine  expectations. 

Encouraged  by  this  success,  and  by  the  daily  progress  of 
that  luminous  and  benign  spirit  of  liberty,  which  is  diffusing 

1789]     AN  ADDRESS  TO   THE  PUBLIC  ON  SLAVERY    67 

itself  throughout  the  world,  and  humbly  hoping  for  the  con- 
tinuance of  the  divine  blessing  on  our  labours,  we  have  ven- 
tured to  make  an  important  addition  to  our  original  plan,  and 
do  therefore  earnestly  solicit  the  support  and  assistance  of 
all  who  can  feel  the  tender  emotions  of  sympathy  and  com- 
passion, or  relish  the  exalted  pleasure  of  beneficence. 

Slavery  is  such  an  atrocious  debasement  of  human  nature, 
that  its  very  extirpation,  if  not  performed  with  solicitous  care, 
may  sometimes  open  a  source  of  serious  evils. 

The  unhappy  man,  who  has  long  been  treated  as  a  brute 
animal,  too  frequently  sinks  beneath  the  common  standard  of 
the  human  species.  The  galling  chains,  that  bind  his  body, 
do  also  fetter  his  intellectual  faculties,  and  impair  the  social 
affections  of  his  heart.  Accustomed  to  move  like  a  mere 
machine,  by  the  will  of  a  master,  reflection  is  suspended; 
he  has  not  the  power  of  choice ;  and  reason  and  conscience 
have  but  little  influence  over  his  conduct,  because  he  is 
chiefly  governed  by  the  passion  of  fear.  He  is  poor  and 
friendless;  perhaps  worn  out  by  extreme  labour,  age,  and 

Under  such  circumstances,  freedom  may  often  prove  a 
misfortune  to  himself,  and  prejudicial  to  society. 

Attention  to  emancipated  black  people,  it  is  therefore  to  be 
hoped,  will  become  a  branch  of  our  national  policy ;  but,  as 
far  as  we  contribute  to  promote  this  emancipation,  so  far  that 
attention  is  evidently  a  serious  duty  incumbent  on  us,  and 
which  we  mean  to  discharge  to  the  best  of  our  judgment  and 

To  instruct,  to  advise,  to  qualify  those,  who  have  been  re- 
stored to  freedom,  for  the  exercise  and  enjoyment  of  civil 
liberty,  to  promote  in  them  habits  of  industry,  to  furnish 

68          THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

them  with  employments  suited  to  their  age,  sex,  talents,  and 
other  circumstances,  and  to  procure  their  children  an  edu- 
cation calculated  for  their  future  situation  in  life ;  these  are 
the  great  outlines  of  the  annexed  plan,  which  we  have  adopted, 
and  which  we  conceive  will  essentially  promote  the  public 
good,  and  the  happiness  of  these  our  hitherto  too  much 
neglected  fellow-creatures. 

A  plan  so  extensive  cannot  be  carried  into  execution  without 
considerable  pecuniary  resources,  beyond  the  present  ordi- 
nary funds  of  the  Society.  We  hope  much  from  the  generosity 
of  enlightened  and  benevolent  freemen,  and  will  gratefully 
receive  any  donations  or  subscriptions  for  this  purpose,  which 
may  be  made  to  our  treasurer,  James  Starr,  or  to  James  Pem- 
berton,  chairman  of  our  committee  of  correspondence. 
Signed,  by  order  of  the  Society, 

B.  FRANKLIN,  President. 

Philadelphia,  9th  of 
November,  1789. 

1783.    TO   JEAN  BAPTISTE  LE  ROY1 

Philadelphia,  November  13,  1789 

IT  is  now  more  than  a  year,  since  I  have  heard  from  my 
dear  friend  Le  Roy.  What  can  be  the  reason?  Are  you 
still  living  ?  Or  have  the  mob  of  Paris  mistaken  the  head  of  a 
monopolizer  of  knowledge,  for  a  monopolizer  of  corn,  and 
paraded  it  about  the  streets  upon  a  pole. 

Great  part  of  the  news  we  have  had  from  Paris,  for  near  a 
year  past,  has  been  very  afflicting.  I  sincerely  wish  and  pray 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  258.  —  ED. 

1789]  TO  M.  LE  VEILLARD  69 

it  may  all  end  well  and  happy,  both  for  the  King  and  the  nation. 
The  voice  of  Philosophy  I  apprehend  can  hardly  be  heard 
among  those  tumults.  If  any  thing  material  in  that  way  had 
occurred,  I  am  persuaded  you  would  have  acquainted  me 
with  it.  However,  pray  let  me  hear  from  you  a  little  of tener ; 
for,  though  the  distance  is  great,  and  the  means  of  conveying 
letters  not  very  regular,  a  year's  silence  between  friends  must 
needs  give  uneasiness. 

Our  new  Constitution  is  now  established,  and  has  an  ap- 
pearance that  promises  permanency ;  but  in  this  world  noth- 
ing can  be  said  to  be  certain,  except  death  and  taxes. 

My  health  continues  much  as  it  has  been  for  some  time, 
except  that  I  grow  thinner  and  weaker,  so  that  I  cannot 
expect  to  hold  out  much  longer. 

My  respects  to  your  good  brother,  and  to  our  friends  of  the 
Academy,  which  always  has  my  best  wishes  for  its  prosperity 
and  glory.  Adieu,  my  dear  friend,  and  believe  me  ever  yours 

most  affectionately, 


1784.    TO  M.  LE  VEILLARD  (L.  c.) 

Philada.,  Nov.  13,  1789 


DEAR  FRIEND  : — This  must  be  but  a  short  Letter,  for  I  have 
mislaid  your  last  and  must  postpone  answering  them  till  I 
have  found  them ;  but  to  make  you  some  Amends  I  send  you 
what  is  done  of  the  Memoirs,  under  this  express  Condition 
however,  that  you  do  not  suffer  any  Copy  to  be  taken  of  them, 
or  of  any  Part  of  them,  on  any  Account  whatever,  and  that 
you  will,  with  your  excellent  Friend  the  Duke  de  la  Roche- 
foucault,  read  them  over  carefully,  examine  them  critically, 

70          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

and  send  me  your  friendly,  candid  Opinion  of  the  Parts  you 
would  advise  me  to  correct  or  expunge;  this  in  Case  you 
should  be  of  Opinion  that  they  are  generally  proper  to  be 
published ;  and  if  you  judge  otherwise,  that  you  would  send 
me  that  Opinion  as  soon  as  possible,  and  prevent  my  taking 
farther  Trouble  in  endeavouring  to  finish  them.  I  send  you 
also  the  Paper  you  desire  respecting  our  Payment  of  old 
English  Debts. 

The  Troubles  you  have  had  in  Paris  have  afflicted  me  a 
great  deal.  I  hope  by  this  Time  they  are  over,  and  every- 
thing settled  as  it  should  be,  to  the  Advantage  both  of  the 
King  and  Nation. 

My  love  to  good  Mme.  Le  Veillard  and  your  Children,  in 
which  Sec'y  Benjamin  joins;  and  believe  me  as  ever,  your 

affectionate  Friend, 



Philadelphia,  Nov.  14,  1789. 

MY  GOOD  AND  DEAR  OLD  FRIEND  :  —  Your  very  valuable 
Son  came  to  this  Town  lately  with  the  full  Intention  of  taking 
his  Passage  for  France  in  Obedience  to  the  Commands  of  his 
much  respected  Father  and  Mother,  and  supposing  that  his 
Presence  there  would  be  useful  to  the  Affairs  of  the  Family. 
But  on  his  communicating  his  Purpose  to  me  and  acquaint- 
ing me  at  the  same  Tune  with  the  present  Situation  of  his 
Demand  upon  Congress,  where  your  Accounts  against  them 
have  been  examined  and  approved,  and  the  Payment  only 
delayed  'till  by  the  Operation  of  our  New  Constitution  the 
Congress  shall  be  furnished  with  Money  to  discharge  them, 

1789]        TO  DONATIEN  LE  RAY  DE  CHAUMONT  71 

I  could  not  help  thinking  it  would  be  more  adviseable  for  him 
to  postpone  his  Voyage  two  or  three  Months  when  he  might 
hope  to  see  his  Business  here  completed  to  his  and  your  Satis- 
faction, than  to  leave  it  in  its  present  State,  which  might 
occasion  a  much  longer  Delay ;  for  the  Impost  Law,  passed 
at  the  last  Session  of  Congress,  being  now  in  full  Force  thro' 
all  the  States  of  the  Union  [imperfect]  Importation  of  Goods 
on  which  [imperfect]  Duties  are  paid  having  lately  been  im- 
mensely great,  the  flow  of  Money  into  the  Treasury  must  be 
proportionable,  so  that  when  they  meet  again,  which  will 
be  early  in  January  next,  they  will  find  themselves  in  Posses- 
sion of  a  very  considerable  Sum;  and  as  their  Debt  to  you 
was  one  of  the  earliest  they  contracted,  I  suppose  it  will  of 
Course  be  one  of  the  first  they  will  think  of  discharging ;  and 
I  have  promised  him  to  use  my  best  Interest  and  Endeavours 
with  them  for  that  Purpose.  He  has  accordingly  thought  fit  to 
take  my  Advice,  and  I  hope  it  will  be  approved  by  you  and  his 
good  Mother,  and  that  this  short  Delay  will  not  occasion  any 
great  Inconvenience;  whereas  if  he  should  be  absent  when 
the  first  Payments  are  made,  his  Affair  might  be  postponed 
for  another  Year.  We  hope  indeed  that  when  he  does  visit 
you,  you  will  not  think  of  detaining  and  fixing  him  in  France ; 
for  we  are  not  willing  to  part  with  him ;  his  Behaviour  having 
been  such,  during  his  Residence  among  us,  as  to  obtain  for 
hmi  the  Good-Will,  Respect  and  Esteem  of  all  who  have  had 
the  Pleasure  of  knowing  him. 

Pray  make  my  Respects  acceptable  to  good  Madame  [im- 


72         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

1786.    TO   DAVID   HARTLEY  (L.  c.) 

Philad%  Decr  4,  1789. 

I  received  your  Favor  of  August  last.  Your  kind  Con- 
dolences on  the  painful  State  of  my  Health  are  very  obliging. 
I  am  thankful  to  God,  however,  that,  among  the  numerous 
Ills  human  Life  is  subject  to,  one  only  of  any  Importance  is 
fallen  to  my  Lot ;  and  that  so  late  as  almost  to  insure  that  it 
can  be  but  of  short  Duration. 

The  Convulsions  in  France  are  attended  with  some  dis- 
agreable  Circumstances;  but  if  by  the  Struggle  she  obtains 
and  secures  for  the  Nation  its  future  Liberty,  and  a  good 
Constitution,  a  few  Years'  Enjoyment  of  those  Blessings  will 
amply  repair  all  the  Damages  their  Acquisition  may  have 
occasioned.  God  grant,  that  not  only  the  Love  of  Liberty, 
but  a  thorough  Knowledge  of  the  Rights  of  Man,  may  per- 
vade all  the  Nations  of  the  Earth,  so  that  a  Philosopher  may 
set  his  Foot  anywhere  on  its  Surface,  and  say,  "This  is  my 

Your  Wishes  for  a  cordial  and  perpetual  Friendship  be- 
tween Britain  and  her  ancient  Colonies  are  manifested  con- 
tinually in  every  one  of  your  Letters  to  me;  something  of 
my  Disposition  on  the  same  Subject  may  appear  to  you  in 
casting  your  Eye  over  the  enclosed  Paper.  I  do  not  by  this 
Opportunity  send  you  any  of  our  Gazettes,  because  the 
Postage  from  Liverpool  would  be  more  than  they  are  worth. 
I  can  now  only  add  my  best  Wishes  of  every  kind  of  Felicity 
for  the  three  amiable  Hartleys,  to  whom  I  have  the  honor  of 
being  an  affectionate  friend  and  most  obedient  humble  ser- 
vant, [B.  FRANKLIN.] 

1789]  TO  MRS.  JANE  MECOM  73 

1787.    TO   MRS.   JANE   MECOM1 

Philadelphia,  December  17,  1789. 


You  tell  me  you  are  desired  by  an  acquaintance  to  ask  my 
opinion,  whether  the  general  circumstances  mentioned  in  the 
history  of  Baron  Trenck  are  founded  in  fact ;  to  which  I  can 
only  answer,  that,  of  the  greatest  part  of  those  circumstances, 
the  scene  being  kid  in  Germany,  I  must  consequently  be  very 
ignorant;  but  of  what  he  says  as  having  passed  in  France, 
between  the  ministers  of  that  country,  himself,  and  me,  I  can 
speak  positively,  that  it  is  founded  in  falsehood,  and  that  the 
fact  can  only  serve  to  confound,  as  I  never  saw  him  in  that 
country,  nor  ever  knew  or  heard  of  him  anywhere,  till  I  met 
with  the  abovementioned  history  in  print,  in  the  German 
language,  in  which  he  ventured  to  relate  it  as  a  fact,  that  I 
had,  with  those  ministers,  solicited  him  to  enter  into  the 
American  service.  A  translation  of  that  book  into  French 
has  since  been  printed,  but  the  translator  has  omitted  that 
pretended  fact,  probably  from  an  apprehension,  that  its  being 
in  that  country  known  not  to  be  true  might  hurt  the  credit 
and  sale  of  the  translation.. 

I  thank  you  for  the  sermon  on  Sacred  Music.  I  have  read 
it  with  pleasure.  I  think  it  a  very  ingenious  composition. 
You  will  say  this  is  natural  enough,  if  you  read  what  I  have 
formerly  written  on  the  same  subject  in  one  of  my  printed 
letters,  wherein  you  will  find  a  perfect  agreement  of  sentiment 
respecting  the  complex  music,  of  late,  in  my  opinion,  too  much 
in  vogue ;  it  being  only  pleasing  to  learned  ears,  which  can  be 

1  From  "The  Private  Correspondence  of  Benjamin  Franklin"  (1818), 
Vol.  I,  p.  260.  — ED. 

74        THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1789 

delighted  with  the  difficulty  of  execution,  instead  of  har- 
mony and  melody.    Your  affectionate  brother, 


1788.    TO (L.  c.) 

Philada.,  Dec*  19,  1789. 

DEAR  FRIEND  :  —  I  have  received  your  kind  Letter  of  the 
5th  Inst.,  together  with  your  Present  of  Metheglin,  of  which 
I  have  already  drank  almost  a  Bottle.  I  find  it  excellent; 
please  to  accept  my  thankful  Acknowledgments. 

The  Letter  of  yours  enclosed  is  from  the  Widow  of  a  Jew, 
who,  happening  to  be  one  of  a  Number  of  Passengers,  that 
were  about  40  Years  ago  in  a  Stage-Boat  going  to  New  York, 
and  which,  by  the  unskillful  management  of  the  Boatman, 
overset  the  Canoe  from  whence  I  was  endeavouring  to  get 
on  board  her,  near  Staten  Island,  has  ever  since  worried  me 
with  Demands  of  a  Gratis  for  having,  as  he  pretended,  been 
instrumental  in  saving  my  Life ;  tho'  that  was  in  no  Danger, 
as  we  were  near  the  Shore,  and  you  know  what  an  expert 
Swimmer  I  am,  and  he  was  no  more  of  any  Service  to  me  in 
stopping  the  Boat  to  take  me  in  than  every  other  Passenger ; 
to  all  whom  I  gave  a  liberal  Entertainment  at  the  Tavern 
when  we  arrived  at  New  York,  to  their  general  satisfaction, 
at  the  Time;  but  this  Hayes  never  saw  me  afterwards,  at 
New  York,  or  Brunswick,  or  Philada.  that  he  did  not  dun 
me  for  Money  on  the  Pretence  of  his  being  poor,  and  having 
been  so  happy  as  to  be  Instrumental  in  saving  my  Life, 
which  was  really  in  no  Danger.  In  this  way  he  got  of  me 
sometimes  a  double  Joannes,  sometimes  a  Spanish  Doubloon, 
and  never  less ;  how  much  in  the  whole  I  do  not  know,  having 

1789]  TO  NOAH   WEBSTER  75 

kept  no  Account  of  it ;  but  it  must  have  been  a  very  consider- 
able Sum ;  and  he  never  incurr'd  any  Risque,  nor  was  at  any 
Trouble  in  my  Behalf,  I  have  long  since  thought  him  well 
paid  for  any  little  Expence  of  Humanity  he  might  have  felt 
on  the  Occasion.  He  seems,  however,  to  have  left  me  to  his 
Widow  as  part  of  her  Dowry. 

1789.    TO  MILES  MERWIN          (A.  p.  s.) 

Dec.  21.  '89. 

A  PAINFUL  illness  has  hitherto  prevented  Dr.  Franklin's 
answering  Mr.  Merwin's  obliging  letter.  He  is  extreamly 
sensible  of  the  Honour  proposed  to  be  done  him  by  the 
Dedication,  and  requests  Mr.  Merwin  to  accept  his  Thanks ; 
but  cannot  give  his  Consent  to  the  publishing  such  e 

C-  A. L L, Ilo  1  \  L- 

Encomiums  on  his  own  Conduct,  and  hopes  M*   Merwin 
will  excuse  the  Refusal. 

1790.    TO  NOAH  WEBSTER  (L.L.) 

Philad*,  Decr  26,  1789. 


I  received  some  Time  since  your  Dissertations  on  the  Eng- 
lish Language.  The  Book  was  not  accompanied  by  any 
Letter  or  Message,  informing  me  to  whom  I  am  obliged  for 
it,  but  I  suppose  it  is  to  yourself.  It  is  an  excellent  Work, 
and  will  be  greatly  useful  in  turning  the  Thoughts  of  our 
Countrymen  to  correct  Writing.  Please  to  accept  my  Thanks 
for  it  as  well  as  for  the  great  honour  you  have  done  me  in 

76         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

its  Dedication.  I  ought  to  have  made  this  Acknowledgment 
sooner,  but  much  Indisposition  prevented  me. 

I  cannot  but  applaud  your  Zeal  for  preserving  the 
Purity  of  our  Language,  both  in  its  Expressions  and  Pronun- 
ciation, and  in  correcting  the  popular  Errors  several  of  our 
States  are  continually  falling  into  with  respect  to  both. 
Give  me  leave  to  mention  some  of  them,  though  possibly 
they  may  have  already  occurred  to  you.  I  wish,  however,  in 
some  future  Publication  of  yours,  you  would  set  a  discoun- 
tenancing Mark  upon  them.  The  first  I  remember  is  the 
word  improved.  When  I  left  New  England,  in  the  year  23, 
this  Word  had  never  been  used  among  us,  as  far  as  I  know, 
but  in  the  sense  of  ameliorated  or  made  better,  except  once  in 
a  very  old  Book  of  Dr.  Mather's,  entitled  Remarkable  Provi- 
dences. As  that  eminent  Man  wrote  a  very  obscure  Hand, 
I  remember  that  when  I  read  that  Word  in  his  Book,  used 
instead  of  the  Word  imployed,  I  conjectured  that  it  was  an 
Error  of  the  Printer,  who  had  mistaken  a  too  short  /  in  the 
Writing  for  an  r,  and  a  y  with  too  short  a  Tail  for  a  v ;  whereby 
imployed  was  converted  into  improved. 

But  when  I  returned  to  Boston,  in  1733,  I  found  this 
Change  had  obtained  Favour,  and  was  then  become  common ; 
for  I  met  with  it  often  in  perusing  the  Newspapers,  where  it 
frequently  made  an  Appearance  rather  ridiculous.  Such, 
for  Instance,  as  the  Advertisement  of  a  Country-House  to 
be  sold,  which  had  been  many  years  improved  as  a  Tavern; 
and,  in  the  Character  of  a  deceased  Country  Gentleman, 
that  he  had  been  for  more  than  30  Years  improved  as  a 
Justice-of-Peace.  This  Use  of  the  Word  improved  is  peculiar 
to  New  England,  and  not  to  be  met  with  among  any  other 
Speakers  of  English,  either  on  this  or  the  other  Side  of  the 

1789]  TO  NOAH  WEBSTER  77 

During  my  late  Absence  in  France,  I  find  that  several  other 
new  Words  have  been  introduced  into  our  parliamentary 
Language;  for  Example,  I  find  a  Verb  formed  from  the 
Substantive  Notice;  I  should  not  have  NOTICED  this,  were  it 
not  that  the  Gentleman,  &c.  Also  another  Verb  from  the 
Substantive  Advocate;  The  Gentleman  who  ADVOCATES  or 
has  ADVOCATED  that  Motion,  &c.  Another  from  the  Sub- 
stantive Progress,  the  most  awkward  and  abominable  of  the 
three;  The  committee,  having  PROGRESSED,  resolved  to  ad- 
journ. The  Word  opposed,  tho'  not  a  new  Word,  I  find  used 
in  a  new  Manner,  as,  The  Gentlemen  who  are  OPPOSED  to  this 
Measure;  to  which  I  have  also  myself  always  been  OPPOSED. 
If  you  should  happen  to  be  of  my  Opinion  with  respect  to 
these  Innovations,  you  will  use  your  Authority  hi  reprobating 

The  Latin  Language,  long  the  Vehicle  used  in  distributing 
Knowledge  among  the  different  Nations  of  Europe,  is  daily 
more  and  more  neglected ;  and  one  of  the  modern  Tongues, 
viz.  the  French,  seems  in  point  of  Universality  to  have  sup- 
plied its  place.  It  is  spoken  in  all  the  Courts  of  Europe; 
and  most  of  the  Literati,  those  even  who  do  not  speak  it, 
have  acquired  Knowledge  enough  of  it  to  enable  them  easily 
to  read  the  Books  that  are  written  in  it.  This  gives  a  con- 
siderable Advantage  to  that  Nation;  it  enables  its  Authors 
to  inculcate  and  spread  through  other  Nations  such  Senti- 
ments and  Opinions  on  important  Points,  as  are  most  con- 
ducive to  its  Interests,  or  which  may  contribute  to  its  Reputa- 
tion by  promoting  the  common  Interests  of  Mankind.  It  is 
perhaps  owing  to  its  being  written  in  French,  that  Voltaire's 
Treatise  on  Toleration  has  had  so  sudden  and  so  great  an 
Effect  on  the  Bigotry  of  Europe,  as  almost  entirely  to  disarm 

78         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1789 

it.  The  general  Use  of  the  French  Language  has  likewise 
a  very  advantageous  Effect  on  the  Profits  of  the  Bookselling 
Branch  of  Commerce,  it  being  well  known,  that  the  more 
Copies  can  be  sold  that  are  struck  off  from  one  Composition 
of  Types,  the  Profits  increase  in  a  much  greater  Proportion 
than  they  do  in  making  a  great  Number  of  Pieces  in  any  other 
Kind  of  Manufacture.  And  at  present  there  is  no  Capital 
Town  in  Europe  without  a  French  Bookseller's  Shop  corre- 
sponding with  Paris. 

Our  English  bids  fair  to  obtain  the  second  Place.  The 
great  Body  of  excellent  printed  Sermons  in  our  Language, 
and  the  Freedom  of  our  Writings  on  political  Subjects,  have 
induced  a  Number  of  Divines  of  different  Sects  and  Nations, 
as  well  as  Gentlemen  concerned  in  public  Affairs,  to  study  it ; 
so  far  at  least  as  to  read  it.  And  if  we  were  to  endeavour 
the  Facilitating  its  Progress,  the  Study  of  our  Tongue  might 
become  much  more  general.  Those,  who  have  employed 
some  Part  of  their  Time  in  learning  a  new  Language,  must 
have  frequently  observed,  that,  while  their  Acquaintance 
with  it  was  imperfect,  Difficulties  small  in  themselves  operated 
as  great  ones  in  obstructing  their  Progress.  A  Book,  for 
Example,  ill  printed,  or  a  Pronunciation  in  speaking,  not  well 
articulated,  would  render  a  Sentence  unintelligible;  which, 
from  a  clear  Print  or  a  distinct  Speaker,  would  have  been 
immediately  comprehended.  If  therefore  we  would  have 
the  Benefit  of  seeing  our  Language  more  generally  known 
among  Mankind,  we  should  endeavour  to  remove  all  the 
Difficulties,  however  small,  that  discourage  the  learning  it. 

But  I  am  sorry  to  observe,  that,  of  late  Years,  those  Diffi- 
culties, instead  of  being  diminished,  have  been  augmented. 
In  examining  the  English  Books,  that  were  printed  between 

1789]  TO  NOAH  WEBSTER  79 

the  Restoration  and  the  Accession  of  George  the  2d,  we  may 
observe,  that  all  Substantives  were  begun  with  a  capital, 
in  which  we  imitated  our  Mother  Tongue,  the  German. 
This  was  more  particularly  useful  to  those,  who  were  not  well 
acquainted  with  the  English ;  there  being  such  a  prodigious 
Number  of  our  Words,  that  are  both  Verbs  and  Substantives, 
and  spelt  in  the  same  manner,  tho'  often  accented  differently 
in  Pronunciation. 

This  Method  has,  by  the  Fancy  of  Printers,  of  late  Years 
been  laid  aside,  from  an  Idea,  that  suppressing  the  Capitals 
shows  the  Character  to  greater  Advantage;  those  Letters 
prominent  above  the  line  disturbing  its  even  regular  Appear- 
ance. The  Effect  of  this  Change  is  so  considerable,  that  a 
learned  Man  of  France,  who  used  to  read  our  Books,  tho' 
not  perfectly  acquainted  with  our  Language,  in  Conversa- 
tion with  me  on  the  Subject  of  our  Authors,  attributed  the 
greater  Obscurity  he  found  in  our  modern  Books,  compared 
with  those  of  the  Period  above  mentioned,  to  a  Change  of 
Style  for  the  worse  in  our  Writers,  of  which  Mistake  I  con- 
vinced him,  by  marking  for  him  each  Substantive  with  a 
Capital  in  a  Paragraph,  which  he  then  easily  understood, 
tho'  before  he  could  not  comprehend  it.  This  shows  the 
Inconvenience  of  that  pretended  Improvement. 

From  the  same  Fondness  for  an  even  and  uniform  Appear- 
ance of  Characters  in  the  Line,  the  Printers  have  of  late  ban- 
ished also  the  Italic  Types,  in  which  Words  of  Importance 
to  be  attended  to  in  the  Sense  of  the  Sentence,  and  Words 
on  which  an  Emphasis  should  be  put  in  Reading,  used  to 
be  printed.  And  lately  another  Fancy  has  induced  some 
Printers  to  use  the  short  round  5,  instead  of  the  long  one, 
which  formerly  served  well  to  distinguish  a  word  readily  by 

8o         THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN     [1789 

its  varied  appearance.  Certainly  the  omitting  this  prominent 
Letter  makes  the  Line  appear  more  even;  but  renders  it 
less  immediately  legible;  as  the  paring  all  Men's  Noses 
might  smooth  and  level  their  Faces,  but  would  render  their 
Physiognomies  less  distinguishable. 

Add  to  all  these  Improvements  backwards,  another  modern 
Fancy,  that  grey  Printing  is  more  beautiful  than  black; 
hence  the  English  new  Books  are  printed  in  so  dim  a  Char- 
acter, as  to  be  read  with  difficulty  by  old  Eyes,  unless  in  a 
very  strong  Light  and  with  good  Glasses.  Whoever  com- 
pares a  Volume  of  the  Gentleman's  Magazine,  printed  between 
the  Years  1731  and  1740,  with  one  of  those  printed  in  the 
last  ten  Years,  will  be  convinced  of  the  much  greater  Degree 
of  Perspicuity  given  by  black  Ink  than  by  grey.  Lord  Ches- 
terfield pleasantly  remarked  this  Difference  to  Faulkener, 
the  Printer  of  the  Dublin  Journal,  who  was  vainly  making 
Encomiums  on  his  own  Paper,  as  the  most  complete  of  any 
in  the  World;  "But,  Mr.  Faulkener,"  said  my  Lord,  "don't 
you  think  it  might  be  still  farther  unproved  by  using  Paper 
and  Ink  not  quite  so  near  of  a  Colour?"  For  all  these 
Reasons  I  cannot  but  wish,  that  our  American  Printers 
would  in  their  Editions  avoid  these  fancied  Improvements, 
and  thereby  render  their  Works  more  agreable  to  Foreigners 
in  Europe,  to  the  great  advantage  of  our  Bookselling  Com- 

Farther,  to  be  more  sensible  of  the  Advantage  of  clear 
and  distinct  Printing,  let  us  consider  the  Assistance  it  affords 
in  Reading  well  aloud  to  an  Auditory.  In  so  doing  the  Eye 
generally  slides  forward  three  or  four  Words  before  the  Voice. 
If  the  Sight  clearly  distinguishes  what  the  coming  Words 
are,  it  gives  time  to  order  the  Modulation  of  the  Voice  to 

1789]  TO  NOAH   WEBSTER  81 

express  them  properly.  But,  if  they  are  obscurely  printed, 
or  disguis'd  by  omitting  the  Capitals  and  long  s's  or  other- 
wise, the  Reader  is  apt  to  modulate  wrong ;  and,  finding  he 
has  done  so,  he  is  oblig'd  to  go  back  and  begin  the  Sentence 
again,  which  lessens  the  Pleasure  of  the  Hearers. 

This  leads  me  to  mention  an  old  Error  in  our  Mode  of 
Printing.  We  are  sensible,  that,  when  a  Question  is  met 
with  in  Reading,  there  is  a  proper  Variation  to  be  used  in 
the  Management  of  the  Voice.  We  have  therefore  a  Point 
called  an  Interrogation,  amx'd  to  the  Question  in  order  to 
distinguish  it.  But  this  is  absurdly  placed  at  its  End;  so 
that  the  Reader  does  not  discover  it,  till  he  finds  he  has 
wrongly  modulated  his  Voice,  and  is  therefore  obliged  to 
begin  again  the  Sentence.  To  prevent  this,  the  Spanish 
Printers,  more  sensibly,  place  an  Interrogation  at  the  Begin- 
ning as  well  as  at  the  End  of  a  Question.  We  have  another 
Error  of  the  same  kind  in  printing  Plays,  where  something 
often  occurs  that  is  mark'd  as  spoken  aside.  But  the  Word 
aside  is  placed  at  the  End  of  the  Speech,  when  it  ought  to 
precede  it,  as  a  Direction  to  the  Reader,  that  he  may  govern 
his  Voice  accordingly.  The  Practice  of  our  Ladies  in  meet- 
ing five  or  six  together  to  form  a  little  busy  Party,  where  each 
is  employ'd  in  some  useful  Work  while  one  reads  to  them,  is 
so  commendable  in  itself,  that  it  deserves  the  Attention  of 
Authors  and  Printers  to  make  it  as  pleasing  as  possible,  both 
to  the  Reader  and  Hearers. 

After  these  general  Observations,  permit  me  to  make  one 
that  I  imagine  may  regard  your  Interest.  It  is  that  your 
Spelling  Book  is  miserably  printed  here,  so  as  in  many  Places 
to  be  scarcely  legible,  and  on  wretched  Paper.  If  this  is 
not  attended  to,  and  the  new  one  lately  advertis'd  as  coming 

VOL.  X — G 

82          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1790 

out  should  be  preferable  in  these  Respects,  it  may  hurt  the 
future  Sale  of  yours. 

I  congratulate  you  on  your  Marriage,  of  which  the  News- 
papers inform  me.  My  best  wishes  attend  you,  being  with 

sincere  esteem,  Sir,  &c. 


1791.    TO  (L.  c.) 

Philadelphia,  Jan.  19,  1790. 


I  recd  the  Letter  you  did  me  the  honor  of  writing  to  me 
respecting  the  Construction  of  the  nth  Art.  of  the  Treaty  of 
Commerce  between  France  and  the  United  States.  I  was 
indeed  one  of  the  Commissioners  on  the  Part  of  the  United 
States  for  making  that  treaty,  but  the  Commissioners  have 
no  right  to  explain  the  Treaty.  Its  explanation  is  to  be 
sought  for  in  its  own  Words,  and,  in  case  it  cannot  be  clearly 
found  there,  then  by  an  application  to  the  contracting  Powers. 

I  certainly  conceived,  that  when  the  Droit  d'aubaine  was 
relinquished  in  favor  of  the  Citizens  of  the  United  States, 
the  relinquishing  Clause  was  meant  to  extend  to  all  the 
Dominions  of  his  most  Christian  Majesty;  and  I  am  of 
Opinion,  that  this  would  not  be  denied,  if  an  Explanation 
were  requested  of  the  Court  of  France;  and  it  ought  to  be 
done,  if  any  Difficulties  arise  on  this  subject  in  the  French 
Islands,  which  their  Courts  do  not  determine  in  our  Favor. 
But,  before  Congress  is  petitioned  to  make  such  Request,  I 
imagine  it  would  be  proper  to  have  the  Case  tried  in  some 
of  the  W.  I.  islands,  and  the  Petition  made  in  Consequence 
of  a  Determination  against  us.  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  &c. 


l  Written  in  the  hand  of  W.  T.  Franklin.  —  ED. 

1790]  TO  EZRA  STILES  83 

1792.    TO   EZRA  STILES  (L.  c.) 

Philad',  March  9.  1790. 


I  received  your  kind  Letter  of  Jan'y  28,  and  am  glad  you 
have  at  length  received  the  portrait  of  Gov'r  Yale  from  his 
Family,  and  deposited  it  in  the  College  Library.  He  was  a 
great  and  good  Man,  and  had  the  Merit  of  doing  infinite  Ser- 
vice to  your  Country  by  his  Munificence  to  that  Institution. 
The  Honour  you  propose  doing  me  by  placing  mine  in  the 
same  Room  with  his,  is  much  too  great  for  my  Deserts; 
but  you  always  had  a  Partiality  for  me,  and  to  that  it  must 
be  ascribed.  I  am  however  too  much  obliged  to  Yale  Col- 
lege, the  first  learned  Society  that  took  Notice  of  me  and 
adorned  me  with  its  Honours,  to  refuse  a  Request  that  comes 
from  it  thro'  so  esteemed  a  Friend.  But  I  do  not  think  any 
one  of  the  Portraits  you  mention,  as  in  my  Possession,  worthy 
of  the  Place  and  Company  you  propose  to  place  it  in.  You 
have  an  excellent  Artist  lately  arrived.  If  he  will  undertake 
to  make  one  for  you,  I  shall  cheerfully  pay  the  Expence; 
but  he  must  not  delay  setting  about  it,  or  I  may  slip  thro'  his 
fingers,  for  I  am  now  in  my  eighty-fifth  year,  and  very  infirm. 

I  send  with  this  a  very  learned  Work,  as  it  seems  to  me, 
on  the  antient  Samaritan  Coins,  lately  printed  in  Spain,  and 
at  least  curious  for  the  Beauty  of  the  Impression.  Please 
to  accept  it  for  your  College  Library.  I  have  subscribed 
for  the  Encyclopaedia  now  printing  here,  with  the  Intention 
of  presenting  it  to  the  College.  I  shall  probably  depart 
before  the  Work  is  finished,  but  shall  leave  Directions  for  its 
Continuance  to  the  End.  With  this  you  will  receive  some 
of  the  first  numbers. 

84         THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1790 

You  desire  to  know  something  of  my  Religion.  It  is  the 
first  time  I  have  been  questioned  upon  it.  But  I  cannot 
take  your  Curiosity  amiss,  and  shall  endeavour  in  a  few 
Words  to  gratify  it.  Here  is  my  Creed.  I  believe  in  one 
God,  Creator  of  the  Universe.  That  he  governs  it  by  his 
Providence.  That  he  ought  to  be  worshipped.  That  the 
most  acceptable  Service  we  render  to  him  is  doing  good  to 
his  other  Children.  That  the  soul  of  Man  is  immortal,  and 
will  be  treated  with  Justice  in  another  Life  respecting  its 
Conduct  in  this.  These  I  take  to  be  the  fundamental  Prin- 
ciples of  all  sound  Religion,  and  I  regard  them  as  you  do  in 
whatever  Sect  I  meet  with  them. 

As  to  Jesus  of  Nazareth,  my  Opinion  of  whom  you  par- 
ticularly desire,  I  think  the  System  of  Morals  and  his  Reli- 
gion, as  he  left  them  to  us,  the  best  the  World  ever  saw  or 
is  likely  to  see ;  but  I  apprehend  it  has  received  various  cor- 
rupting Changes,  and  I  have,  with  most  of  the  present  Dis- 
senters in  England,  some  Doubts  as  to  his  Divinity;  tho' 
it  is  a  question  I  do  not  dogmatize  upon,  having  never  studied 
it,  and  think  it  needless  to  busy  myself  with  it  now,  when  I 
expect  soon  an  Opportunity  of  knowing  the  Truth  with  less 
Trouble.  I  see  no  harm,  however,  in  its  being  believed, 
if  that  Belief  has  the  good  Consequence,  as  probably  it  has, 
of  making  his  Doctrines  more  respected  and  better  observed ; 
especially  as  I  do  not  perceive,  that  the  Supreme  takes  it 
amiss,  by  distinguishing  the  Unbelievers  in  his  Government 
of  the  World  with  any  peculiar  Marks  of  his  Displeasure. 

I  shall  only  add,  respecting  myself,  that,  having  experi- 
enced the  Goodness  of  that  Being  in  conducting  me  pros- 
perously thro'  a  long  life,  I  have  no  doubt  of  its  Continuance 
in  the  next,  though  without  the  smallest  Conceit  of  meriting 

179°]  TO  EZRA  STILES  85 

such  Goodness.  My  Sentiments  on  this  Head  you  will  see 
in  the  Copy  of  an  old  Letter  enclosed,1  which  I  wrote  in  answer 
to  one  from  a  zealous  Religionist,  whom  I  had  relieved  in  a 
paralytic  case  by  electricity,  and  who,  being  afraid  I  should 
grow  proud  upon  it,  sent  me  his  serious  though  rather  im- 
pertinent Caution.  I  send  you  also  the  Copy  of  another 
Letter,2  which  will  shew  something  of  my  Disposition  relat- 
ing to  Religion.  With  great  and  sincere  Esteem  and  Affection, 
I  am,  Your  obliged  old  Friend  and  most  obedient  humble 
Servant  B.  FRANKLIN. 

P.  S.  Had  not  your  College  some  Present  of  Books  from 
the  King  of  France  ?  Please  to  let  me  know,  if  you  had  an 
Expectation  given  you  of  more,  and  the  Nature  of  that 
Expectation?  I  have  a  Reason  for  the  Enquiry. 

I  confide,  that  you  will  not  expose  me  to  Criticism  and 
censure  by  publishing  any  part  of  this  Communication  to 
you.  I  have  ever  let  others  enjoy  their  religious  Sentiments, 
without  reflecting  on  them  for  those  that  appeared  to  me  un- 
supportable  and  even  absurd.  All  Sects  here,  and  we  have 
a  great  Variety,  have  experienced  my  good  will  in  assisting 
them  with  Subscriptions  for  building  their  new  Places  of 
Worship;  and,  as  I  have  never  opposed  any  of  their  Doc- 
trines, I  hope  to  go  out  of  the  World  in  Peace  with  them  all.3 

1  Probably  the  letter  written  to  Joseph  Huey.  —  ED. 

2  It  is  uncertain  what  letter  is  here  alluded  to,  but  probably  the  one  sup- 
posed to  have  been  written  to  Thomas  Paine.  —  S. 

8  This  letter  was  written  in  reply  to  the  following  query  in  a  letter  from 
Ezra  Stiles  (January  28,  1790)  :  — 

"  You  know,  Sir,  that  I  am  a  Christian,  and  would  to  Heaven  all  others 
were  such  as  I  am,  except  my  Imperfections  and  Deficiencies  of  moral 
Character.  As  much  as  I  know  of  Dr.  Franklin,  I  have  not  an  idea  of  his 
religious  Sentiments.  I  wish  to  know  the  Opinion  of  my  venerable  Friend 

86          THE   WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1790 

1793.    TO   FRANCIS   CHILDS        (p.  H.  s.) 

Philad*  March  10,  1790 


I  received  your  Letter  enclosing  the  Bill  of  Lading  for  the 
two  Boxes  of  Types ;  but  the  Vessel  is  not  yet  arriv'd.  By 
your  Proposal  which  I  agreed  to,  I  was  to  have  them  at 
what  they  cost  in  London,  at  Caslon's  Foundery;  and  you 
desire  me  to  give  you  Credit  accordingly:  But  as  I  never 
before  bought  any  such  small  Letters,  and  Caslon  has  not 
mark'd  any  Prices  in  his  Specimens,  I  do  not  know  at  what 
Rates  I  am  to  credit  them,  till  I  receive  his  Bill  or  Invoice, 
which  I  therefore  request  you  will  send  me  by  the  Return 

of  the  Post.    I  am,  Sir, 

Your  humble  Servant 

1794.    ON   THE   SLAVE-TRADE          (L.  c.) 

Dr.  Franklin's  name,  as  President  of  the  Abolition  Society,  was  signed  to 
the  memorial  presented  to  the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States, 
on  the  1 2th  of  February,  1789,  praying  them  to  exert  the  full  extent  of  power 
vested  in  them  by  the  Constitution,  in  discouraging  the  traffic  of  the  human 
species.  This  was  his  last  public  act.  In  the  debates  to  which  this  memorial 

concerning  Jesus  of  Nazereth.  He  will  not  impute  this  to  Impertinence  or 
improper  Curiosity,  in  one,  who  for  so  many  years  has  continued  to  love, 
estimate,  and  reverence  his  Abilities  and  literary  Character,  with  an  Ardor 
and  Affection  bordering  on  Adoration.  If  I  have  said  too  much,  let  the 
Request  be  blotted  out,  and  be  no  more;  and  yet  I  shall  never  cease  to  wish 
you  that  happy  Immortality,  which  I  believe  Jesus  alone  has  purchased  for  the 
virtuous  and  truly  good  of  every  religious  Denomination  in  Christendom,  and 
for  those  of  every  Age,  Nation,  and  Mythology,  who  reverence  the  Deity,  and 
are  filled  with  Integrity,  Righteousness,  and  Benevolence.  Wishing  you  every 
Blessing,  I  am,  dear  Sir,  your  most  obed'  Serv1. 


1790]  ON  THE  SLAVE-TRADE  87 

gave  rise,  several  attempts  were  made  to  justify  the  trade.  In  the  Federal 
Gazette  of  March  25th,  1790,  there  appeared  an  essay,  signed  HISTORICUS, 
written  by  Dr.  Franklin,  in  which  he  communicated  a  Speech,  said  to  have 
been  delivered  in  the  Divan  of  Algiers,  in  1687,  in  opposition  to  the  prayer 
of  the  petition  of  a  sect  called  Erika,  or  Purists,  for  the  abolition  of  piracy 
and  slavery.  This  pretended  African  speech  was  an  excellent  parody  of  one 
delivered  by  Mr.  Jackson,  of  Georgia.  All  the  arguments,  urged  in  favour  of 
negro  slavery,  are  applied  with  equal  force  to  justify  the  plundering  and  en- 
slaving of  Europeans.  It  affords,  at  the  same  time,  a  demonstration  of  the 
futility  of  the  arguments  in  defence  of  the  slave-trade,  and  of  the  strength  of 
mind  and  ingenuity  of  the  author,  at  his  advanced  period  of  life.  It  furnishes, 
too,  a  no  less  convincing  proof  of  his  power  of  imitating  the  style  of  other 
times  and  nations,  than  his  celebrated  Parable  against  Persecution.  And  as 
the  latter  led  many  persons  to  search  the  Scriptures  with  a  view  to  find  it,  so 
the  former  caused  many  persons  to  search  the  book-stores  and  libraries  for  the 
work  from  which  it  was  said  to  be  extracted.  —  DR.  STUBER. 


March  23d,  I79O.1 


Reading  last  night  in  your  excellent  Paper  the  speech  of 
Mr.  Jackson  in  Congress  against  their  meddling  with  the 
Affair  of  Slavery,  or  attempting  to  mend  the  Condition  of 
the  Slaves,  it  put  me  in  mind  of  a  similar  One  made  about 
100  Years  since  by  Sidi  Mehemet  Ibrahim,  a  member  of  the 
Divan  of  Algiers,  which  may  be  seen  in  Martin's  Account  of 
his  Consulship,  anno  1687.  It  was  against  granting  the 
Petition  of  the  Sect  called  Erika,  or  Purists,  who  pray'd  for 
the  Abolition  of  Piracy  and  Slavery  as  being  unjust.  Mr. 
Jackson  does  not  quote  it ;  perhaps  he  has  not  seen  it.  If, 
therefore,  some  of  its  Reasonings  are  to  be  found  in  his  elo- 
quent Speech,  it  may  only  show  that  men's  Interests  and 
Intellects  operate  and  are  operated  on  with  surprising  simi- 

1  This  paper  is  dated  only  twenty-four  days  before  the  author's  death, 
which  happened  on  the  I7th  of  April  following.  —  ED. 

88          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1790 

larity  in  all  Countries  and  Climates,  when  under  similar  Cir- 
cumstances.  The  African's  Speech,  as  translated,  is  as  follows. 

"Allah  Bismillah,  &C.    God  is  great,  and  Mahomet  is  his 


"Have  these  Erika  considered  the  Consequences  of  grant- 
ing their  Petition?  If  we  cease  our  Cruises  against  the 
Christians,  how  shall  we  be  furnished  with  the  Commodities 
their  Countries  produce,  and  which  are  so  necessary  for  us  ? 
If  we  forbear  to  make  Slaves  of  their  People,  who  in  this  hot 
Climate  are  to  cultivate  our  Lands  ?  Who  are  to  perform  the 
common  Labours  of  our  City,  and  in  our  Families?  Must 
we  not  then  be  our  own  Slaves  ?  And  is  there  not  more  Com- 
passion and  more  Favour  due  to  us  as  Mussulmen,  than  to 
these  Christian  Dogs?  We  have  now  above  50,000  Slaves 
in  and  near  Algiers.  This  Number,  if  not  kept  up  by  fresh 
Supplies,  will  soon  diminish,  and  be  gradually  annihilated. 
If  we  then  cease  taking  and  plundering  the  Infidel  Ships,  and 
making  Slaves  of  the  Seamen  and  Passengers,  our  Lands 
will  become  of  no  Value  for  want  of  Cultivation ;  the  Rents 
of  Houses  in  the  City  will  sink  one  half ;  and  the  Revenues 
of  Government  arising  from  its  Share  of  Prizes  be  totally 
destroy'd  !  And  for  what  ?  To  gratify  the  whims  of  a  whim- 
sical Sect,  who  would  have  us,  not  only  forbear  making  more 
Slaves,  but  even  to  manumit  those  we  have. 

"But  who  is  to  indemnify  their  Masters  for  the  Loss? 
Will  the  State  do  it?  Is  our  Treasury  sufficient?  Will  the 
Erika  do  it?  Can  they  do  it?  Or  would  they,  to  do  what 
they  think  Justice  to  the  Slaves,  do  a  greater  Injustice  to  the 
Owners  ?  And  if  we  set  our  Slaves  free,  what  is  to  be  done 
with  them?  Few  of  them  will  return  to  their  Countries; 

1790]  ON  THE  SLAVE-TRADE  89 

they  know  too  well  the  greater  Hardships  they  must  there  be 
subject  to;  they  will  not  embrace  our  holy  Religion;  they 
will  not  adopt  our  Manners;  our  People  will  not  pollute 
themselves  by  intermarrying  with  them.  Must  we  maintain 
them  as  Beggars  in  our  Streets,  or  suffer  our  Properties  to 
be  the  Prey  of  their  Pillage?  For  Men  long  accustom'd  to 
Slavery  will  not  work  for  a  Livelihood  when  not  compell'd. 
And  what  is  there  so  pitiable  in  their  present  Condition? 
Were  they  not  Slaves  in  their  own  Countries  ? 

"Are  not  Spain,  Portugal,  France,  and  the  Italian  states 
govern'd  by  Despots,  who  hold  all  their  Subjects  in  Slavery, 
without  Exception  ?  Even  England  treats  its  Sailors  as  Slaves ; 
for  they  are,  whenever  the  Government  pleases,  seiz'd,  and 
confin'd  in  Ships  of  War,  condemn'd  not  only  to  work,  but 
to  fight,  for  small  Wages,  or  a  mere  Subsistence,  not  better 
than  our  Slaves  are  allow'd  by  us.  Is  their  Condition  then 
made  worse  by  their  f ailing  into  our  Hands  ?  No ;  they  have 
only  exchanged  one  Slavery  for  another,  and  I  may  say  a 
better ;  for  here  they  are  brought  into  a  Land  where  the  Sun 
of  Islamism  gives  forth  its  Light,  and  shines  in  full  Splendor, 
and  they  have  an  Opportunity  of  making  themselves  ac- 
quainted with  the  true  Doctrine,  and  thereby  saving  their 
immortal  Souls.  Those  who  remain  at  home  have  not  that 
Happiness.  Sending  the  Slaves  home  then  would  be  sending 
them  out  of  Light  into  Darkness. 

"I  repeat  the  Question,  What  is  to  be  done  with  them? 
I  have  heard  it  suggested,  that  they  may  be  planted  in  the 
Wilderness,  where  there  is  plenty  of  Land  for  them  to  sub- 
sist on,  and  where  they  may  flourish  as  a  free  State ;  but  they 
are,  I  doubt,  too  little  dispos'd  to  labour  without  Compulsion, 
as  well  as  too  ignorant  to  establish  a  good  government,  and 

90          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1790 

the  wild  Arabs  would  soon  molest  and  destroy  or  again  en- 
slave them.  While  serving  us,  we  take  care  to  provide  them 
with  every  thing,  and  they  are  treated  with  Humanity.  The 
Labourers  in  their  own  Country  are,  as  I  am  well  informed, 
worse  fed,  lodged,  and  cloathed.  The  Condition  of  most  of 
them  is  therefore  already  mended,  and  requires  no  further 
Improvement.  Here  their  Lives  are  in  Safety.  They  are 
not  liable  to  be  impress'd  for  Soldiers,  and  forc'd  to  cut  one 
another's  Christian  Throats,  as  in  the  Wars  of  their  own 
Countries.  If  some  of  the  religious  mad  Bigots,  who  now 
teaze  us  with  their  silly  Petitions,  have  in  a  Fit  of  blind  Zeal 
freed  their  Slaves,  it  was  not  Generosity,  it  was  not  Hu- 
manity, that  mov'd  them  to  the  Action;  it  was  from  the 
conscious  Burthen  of  a  Load  of  Sins,  and  Hope,  from  the 
supposed  Merits  of  so  good  a  Work,  to  be  excus'd  Damna- 

"How  grossly  are  they  mistaken  in  imagining  Slavery  to 
be  disallow'd  by  the  Alcoran !  Are  not  the  two  Precepts, 
to  quote  no  more,  'Masters,  treat  your  Slaves  with  kindness; 
Slaves,  serve  your  Masters  with  Cheerfulness  and  Fidelity,'  clear 
Proofs  to  the  contrary  ?  Nor  can  the  Plundering  of  Infidels 
be  hi  that  sacred  Book  forbidden,  since  it  is  well  known 
from  it,  that  God  has  given  the  World,  and  all  that  it  contains, 
to  his  faithful  Mussulmen,  who  are  to  enjoy  it  of  Right  as 
fast  as  they  conquer  it.  Let  us  then  hear  no  more  of  this 
detestable  Proposition,  the  Manumission  of  Christian  Slaves, 
the  Adoption  of  which  would,  by  depreciating  our  Lands 
and  Houses,  and  thereby  depriving  so  many  good  Citizens 
of  their  Properties,  create  universal  Discontent,  and  provoke 
Insurrections,  to  the  endangering  of  Government  and  pro- 
ducing general  Confusion.  I  have  therefore  no  doubt,  but 

1790]  TO  MRS.  JANE  MECOM  91 

this  wise  Council  will  prefer  the  Comfort  and  Happiness 
of  a  whole  Nation  of  true  Believers  to  the  Whim  of  a  few 
Erika,  and  dismiss  their  Petition." 

The  Result  was,  as  Martin  tells  us,  that  the  Divan  came 
to  this  Resolution;  "The  Doctrine,  that  Plundering  and 
Enslaving  the  Christians  is  unjust,  is  at  best  problematical; 
but  that  it  is  the  Interest  of  this  State  to  continue  the  Prac- 
tice, is  clear;  therefore  let  the  Petition  be  rejected." 

And  it  was  rejected  accordingly. 

And  since  like  Motives  are  apt  to  produce  in  the  Minds  of 
Men  like  Opinions  and  Resolutions,  may  we  not,  Mr.  Brown, 
venture  to  predict,  from  this  Account,  that  the  Petitions  to 
the  Parliament  of  England  for  abolishing  the  Slave-Trade, 
to  say  nothing  of  other  Legislatures,  and  the  Debates  upon 
them,  will  have  a  similar  Conclusion?  I  am,  Sir,  your  con- 
stant Reader  and  humble  Servant,  HISTORICUS. 

1795.    TO  MRS.  JANE  MECOM1 

Philadelphia,  March  24,  1790. 


I  received  your  kind  letter  by  your  good  neighbour,  Cap- 
tain Rich.  The  information  it  contained,  that  you  continue 
well,  gave  me,  as  usual,  great  pleasure.  As  to  myself,  I  have 
been  quite  free  from  pain  for  near  three  weeks  past;  and 
therefore  not  being  obliged  to  take  any  laudanum,  my 
appetite  has  returned,  and  I  have  recovered  some  part  of 
my  strength.  Thus  I  continue  to  live  on,  while  all  the  friends 
of  my  youth  have  left  me,  and  gone  to  join  the  majority. 

1  First  published  by  Sparks,  Vol.  X,  p.  425.  — ED. 

92          THE  WRITINGS  OF  BENJAMIN  FRANKLIN    [1790 

I  have,  however,  the  pleasure  of  continued  friendship  and 
conversation  with  their  children  and  grandchildren.  I  do 
not  repine  at  my  malady,  though  a  severe  one,  when  I  con- 
sider how  well  I  am  provided  with  every  convenience  to 
palliate  it,  and  to  make  me  comfortable  under  it;  and  how 
many  more  horrible  evils  the  human  body  is  subject  to ;  and 
what  a  long  life  of  health  I  have  been  blessed  with,  free  from 
them  all. 

You  have  done  well  not  to  send  me  any  more  fish  at  present. 
These  continue  good,  and  give  me  pleasure. 

Do  you  know  any  thing  of  our  sister  Scott's  daughter; 
whether  she  is  still  living,  and  where?  This  family  join 
in  love  to  you  and  yours,  and  to  cousins  Williams,  with  your 

affectionate  brother, 


P.  S.  It  is  early  in  the  morning,  and  I  write  in  bed.  The 
awkward  position  has  occasioned  the  crooked  lines. 


Philadelphia,  April  8,  I79O.1 


I  received  your  letter  of  the  3ist  of  last  past,  relating  to 
encroachments  made  on  the  eastern  limits  of  the  United 
States  by  settlers  under  the  British  government,  pretending 
that  it  is  the  western,  and  not  the  eastern  river  of  the  Bay  of 
Passamaquoddy  which  was  designated  by  the  name  of  St. 
Croix,  in  the  treaty  of  peace  with  that  nation ;  and  requesting 
of  me  to  communicate  any  facts  which  my  memory  or  papers 

1  This  letter  is  dated  only  nine  days  before  Dr.  Franklin's  death.  —  ED. 

1790]  TO   THOMAS  JEFFERSON"  93 

may  enable  me  to  recollect,  and  which  may  indicate  the  true 
river,  which  the  commissioners  on  both  sides  had  in  their 
view,  to  establish  as  the  boundary  between  the  two  nations. 

Your  letter  found  me  under  a  severe  fit  of  my  malady, 
which  prevented  my  answering  it  sooner,  or  attending,  in- 
deed, to  any  kind  of  business.  I  now  can  assure  you,  that 
I  am  perfectly  clear  in  the  remembrance  that  the  map  we  used 
in  tracing  the  boundary,  was  brought  to  the  treaty  by  the  com- 
missioners from  England,  and  that  it  was  the  same  that  was 
published  by  Mitchell  above  twenty  years  before.  Having 
a  copy  of  that  map  by  me  in  loose  sheets,  I  send  you  that 
sheet  which  contains  the  Bay  of  Passamaquoddy,  where  you 
will  see  that  part  of  the  boundary  traced.  I  remember, 
too,  that  in  that  part  of  the  boundary  we  relied  much  on  the 
opinion  of  Mr.  Adams,  who  had  been  concerned  in  some 
former  disputes  concerning  those  territories.  I  think,  there- 
fore, that  you  may  obtain  still  further  light  from  him. 

That  the  map  we  used  was  Mitchell's  map,  Congress  were 
acquainted  at  the  time,  by  a  letter  to  their  Secretary  for 
Foreign  Affairs,  which  I  suppose  may  be  found  upon  their 

files.    I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c., 



1797-  REMARKS  (L.  c.) 


SAVAGES  we  call  them,  because  their  Manners  differ  from 
ours,  which  we  think  the  Perfection  of  Civility;  they  think 
the  same  of  theirs. 

Perhaps,  if  we  could  examine  the  Manners  of  different 
Nations  with  Impartiality,  we  should  find  no  People  so  rude, 
as  to  be  without  any  Rules  of  Politeness ;  nor  any  so  polite, 
as  not  to  have  some  Remains  of  Rudeness. 

The  Indian  Men,  when  young,  are  Hunters  and  Warriors ; 
when  old,  Counsellors;  for  all  their  Government  is  by 
Counsel  of  the  Sages ;  there  is  no  Force,  there  are  no  Prisons, 
no  Officers  to  compel  Obedience,  or  inflict  Punishment. 
Hence  they  generally  study  Oratory,  the  best  Speaker  having 
the  most  Influence.  The  Indian  Women  till  the  Ground, 
dress  the  Food,  nurse  and  bring  up  the  Children,  and  pre- 
serve and  hand  down  to  Posterity  the  Memory  of  public 
Transactions.  These  Employments  of  Men  and  Women 
are  accounted  natural  and  honourable.  Having  few  arti- 
ficial Wants,  they  have  abundance  of  Leisure  for  Improve- 
ment by  Conversation.  Our  laborious  Manner  of  Life,  com- 
pared with  theirs,  they  esteem  slavish  and  base;  and  the 

1  This  paper  was  published  in  a  separate  pamphlet  in  England,  in  the  year 
1784  ;  and  afterwards,  in  1787,  formed  a  part  of  the  edition  printed  for  Dilly. 
The  draft  in  L.  C.  is  undated,  and  it  is  uncertain  when  it  was  written.  —  ED. 
VOL.  x  —  H  97 


Learning,  on  which  we  value  ourselves,  they  regard  as 
frivolous  and  useless.  An  Instance  of  this  occurred  at  the 
Treaty  of  Lancaster,  in  Pennsylvania,  anno  1744,  between  the 
Government  of  Virginia  and  the  Six  Nations.  After  the  prin- 
cipal Business  was  settled,  the  Commissioners  from  Virginia 
acquainted  the  Indians  by  a  Speech,  that  there  was  at  Wil- 
liamsburg  a  College,  with  a  Fund  for  Educating  Indian  youth ; 
and  that,  if  the  Six  Nations  would  send  down  half  a  dozen 
of  their  young  Lads  to  that  College,  the  Government  would 
take  care  that  they  should  be  well  provided  for,  and  in- 
structed in  all  the  Learning  of  the  White  People.  It  is  one 
of  the  Indian  Rules  of  Politeness  not  to  answer  a  public 
Proposition  the  same  day  that  it  is  made ;  they  think  it  would 
be  treating  it  as  a  light  matter,  and  that  they  show  it  Respect 
by  taking  time  to  consider  it,  as  of  a  Matter  important. 
They  therefore  def err'd  their  Answer  till  the  Day  following ; 
when  their  Speaker  began,  by  expressing  their  deep  Sense  of 
the  kindness  of  the  Virginia  Government,  in  making  them 
that  Offer;  "for  we  know,"  says  he,  "that  you  highly  es- 
teem the  kind  of  Learning  taught  in  those  Colleges,  and  that 
the  Maintenance  of  our  young  Men,  while  with  you,  would  be 
very  expensive  to  you.  We  are  convinc'd,  therefore,  that 
you  mean  to  do  us  Good  by  your  Proposal;  and  we  thank 
you  heartily.  But  you,  who  are  wise,  must  know  that  differ- 
ent Nations  have  different  Conceptions  of  things;  and  you 
will  therefore  not  take  it  amiss,  if  our  Ideas  of  this  kind  of 
Education  happen  not  to  be  the  same  with  yours.  We  have 
had  some  Experience  of  it;  Several  of  our  young  People 
were  formerly  brought  up  at  the  Colleges  of  the  Northern 
Provinces;  they  were  instructed  in  all  your  Sciences;  but, 
when  they  came  back  to  us,  they  were  bad  Runners,  ignorant 


of  every  means  of  living  in  the  Woods,  unable  to  bear  either 
Cold  or  Hunger,  knew  neither  how  to  build  a  Cabin,  take  a 
Deer,  or  kill  an  Enemy,  spoke  our  Language  imperfectly, 
were  therefore  neither  fit  for  Hunters,  Warriors,  nor  Coun- 
sellors ;  they  were  totally  good  for  nothing.  We  are  however 
not  the  less  oblig'd  by  your  kind  Offer,  tho'  we  decline  accept- 
ing it ;  and,  to  show  our  grateful  Sense  of  it,  if  the  Gentlemen 
of  Virginia  will  send  us  a  Dozen  of  their  Sons,  we  will  take 
great  Care  of  their  Education,  instruct  them  in  all  we  know, 
and  make  Men  of  them." 

Having  frequent  Occasions  to  hold  public  Councils,  they 
have  acquired  great  Order  and  Decency  in  conducting  them. 
The  old  Men  sit  in  the  foremost  Ranks,  the  Warriors  in  the 
next,  and  the  Women  and  Children  in  the  hindmost.  The 
Business  of  the  Women  is  to  take  exact  Notice  of  what  passes, 
imprint  it  in  their  Memories  (for  they  have  no  Writing), 
and  communicate  it  to  their  Children.  They  are  the  Records 
of  the  Council,  and  they  preserve  Traditions  of  the  Stipula- 
tions in  Treaties  100  Years  back ;  which,  when  we  compare 
with  our  Writings,  we  always  find  exact.  He  that  would 
speak,  rises.  The  rest  observe  a  profound  Silence.  When  he 
has  finish 'd  and  sits  down,  they  leave  him  5  or  6  Minutes  to 
recollect,  that,  if  he  has  omitted  any  thing  he  intended  to  say, 
or  has  any  thing  to  add,  he  may  rise  again  and  deliver  it. 
To  interrupt  another,  even  in  common  Conversation,  is 
reckon'd  highly  indecent.  How  different  this  is  from  the 
conduct  of  a  polite  British  House  of  Commons,  where  scarce 
a  day  passes  without  some  Confusion,  that  makes  the  Speaker 
hoarse  in  calling  to  Order;  and  how  different  from  the  Mode 
of  Conversation  in  many  polite  Companies  of  Europe,  where, 
if  you  do  not  deliver  your  Sentence  with  great  Rapidity,  you 


are  cut  off  in  the  middle  of  it  by  the  Impatient  Loquacity 
of  those  you  converse  with,  and  never  suffer'd  to  finish  it ! 

The  Politeness  of  these  Savages  in  Conversation  is  indeed 
carried  to  Excess,  since  it  does  not  permit  them  to  contradict 
or  deny  the  Truth  of  what  is  asserted  in  their  Presence.  By 
this  means  they  indeed  avoid  Disputes ;  but  then  it  becomes 
difficult  to  know  their  Minds,  or  what  Impression  you  make 
upon  them.  The  Missionaries  who  have  attempted  to  con- 
vert them  to  Christianity,  all  complain  of  this  as  one  of  the 
great  Difficulties  of  their  Mission.  The  Indians  hear  with 
Patience  the  Truths  of  the  Gospel  explain'd  to  them,  and 
give  their  usual  Tokens  of  Assent  and  Approbation;  you 
would  think  they  were  con  vine' d.  No  such  matter.  It  is 
mere  Civility. 

A  Swedish  Minister,  having  assembled  the  chiefs  of  the 
Susquehanah  Indians,  made  a  Sermon  to  them,  acquainting 
them  with  the  principal  historical  Facts  on  which  our  Reli- 
gion is  founded ;  such  as  the  Fall  of  our  first  Parents  by  eating 
an  Apple,  the  coming  of  Christ  to  repair  the  Mischief,  his 
Miracles  and  Suffering,  &c.  When  he  had  finished,  an 
Indian  Orator  stood  up  to  thank  him.  "What  you  have  told 
us,"  says  he,  "is  all  very  good.  It  is  indeed  bad  to  eat 
Apples.  It  is  better  to  make  them  all  into  Cyder.  We  are 
much  oblig'd  by  your  kindness  in  coming  so  far,  to  tell  us  these 
Things  which  you  have  heard  from  your  Mothers.  In  return, 
I  will  tell  you  some  of  those  we  have  heard  from  ours.  In 
the  Beginning,  our  Fathers  had  only  the  Flesh  of  Animals 
to  subsist  on;  and  if  their  Hunting  was  unsuccessful,  they 
were  starving.  Two  of  our  young  Hunters,  having  kill'd 
a  Deer,  made  a  Fire  in  the  Woods  to  broil  some  Part  of  it. 
When  they  were  about  to  satisfy  their  Hunger,  they  beheld  a 


beautiful  young  Woman  descend  from  the  Clouds,  and  seat 
herself  on  that  Hill,  which  you  see  yonder  among  the  blue 
Mountains.  They  said  to  each  other,  it  is  a  Spirit  that 
has  smelt  our  broiling  Venison,  and  wishes  to  eat  of  it ;  let  us 
offer  some  to  her.  They  presented  her  with  the  Tongue ;  she 
was  pleas'd  with  the  Taste  of  it,  and  said,  'Your  kindness 
shall  be  rewarded ;  come  to  this  Place  after  thirteen  Moons, 
and  you  shall  find  something  that  will  be  of  great  Benefit  in 
nourishing  you  and  your  Children  to  the  latest  Generations.' 
They  did  so,  and,  to  their  Surprise,  found  Plants  they  had 
never  seen  before;  but  which,  from  that  ancient  time,  have 
been  constantly  cultivated  among  us,  to  our  great  Advantage. 
Where  her  right  Hand  had  touched  the  Ground,  they  found 
Maize;  where  her  left  hand  had  touch'd  it,  they  found 
Kidney-Beans;  and  where  her  Backside  had  sat  on  it,  they 
found  Tobacco."  The  good  Missionary,  disgusted  with  this 
idle  Tale,  said,  "What  I  delivered  to  you  were  sacred  Truths; 
but  what  you  tell  me  is  mere  Fable,  Fiction,  and  Falshood." 
The  Indian,  offended,  reply 'd,  "My  brother,  it  seems  your 
Friends  have  not  done  you  Justice  in  your  Education ;  they 
have  not  well  instructed  you  in  the  Rules  of  common  Civility. 
You  saw  that  we,  who  understand  and  practise  those  Rules, 
believ'd  all  your  stories;  why  do  you  refuse  to  believe  ours?" 
When  any  of  them  come  into  our  Towns,  our  People  are 
apt  to  crowd  round  them,  gaze  upon  them,  and  incommode 
them,  where  they  desire  to  be  private ;  this  they  esteem  great 
Rudeness,  and  the  Effect  of  the  Want  of  Instruction  in  the 
Rules  of  Civility  and  good  Manners.  "We  have,"  say  they, 
"as  much  Curiosity  as  you,  and  when  you  come  into  our 
Towns,  we  wish  for  Opportunities  of  looking  at  you;  but 
for  this  purpose  we  hide  ourselves  behind  Bushes,  where  you 


are  to  pass,  and  never  intrude  ourselves  into  your  Com- 

Their  Manner  of  entring  one  another's  village  has  likewise 
its  Rules.  It  is  reckon'd  uncivil  in  travelling  Strangers  to 
enter  a  Village  abruptly,  without  giving  Notice  of  their 
Approach.  Therefore,  as  soon  as  they  arrive  within  hearing, 
they  stop  and  hollow,  remaining  there  till  invited  to  enter. 
Two  old  Men  usually  come  out  to  them,  and  lead  them  in. 
There  is  in  every  Village  a  vacant  Dwelling,  called  the  Strang- 
ers' House.  Here  they  are  plac'd,  while  the  old  Men  go 
round  from  Hut  to  Hut,  acquainting  the  Inhabitants,  that 
Strangers  are  arriv'd,  who  are  probably  hungry  and  weary ; 
and  every  one  sends  them  what  he  can  spare  of  Victuals,  and 
Skins  to  repose  on.  When  the  Strangers  are  refresh'd, 
Pipes  and  Tobacco  are  brought;  and  then,  but  not  before, 
Conversation  begins,  with  Enquiries  who  they  are,  whither 
bound,  what  News,  &c. ;  and  it  usually  ends  with  offers  of 
Service,  if  the  Strangers  have  occasion  of  Guides,  or  any 
Necessaries  for  continuing  their  Journey;  and  nothing  is 
exacted  for  the  Entertainment. 

The  same  Hospitality,  esteem'd  among  them  as  a  principal 
Virtue,  is  practis'd  by  private  Persons;  of  which  Conrad 
Weiser,  our  Interpreter,  gave  me  the  following  Instance.  He 
had  been  naturaliz'd  among  the  Six  Nations,  and  spoke  well 
the  Mohock  Language.  In  going  thro'  the  Indian  Country, 
to  carry  a  Message  from  our  Governor  to  the  Council  at 
Onondaga,  he  call'd  at  the  Habitation  of  Canassatego,  an 
old  Acquaintance,  who  embrac'd  him,  spread  Furs  for  him  to 
sit  on,  plac'd  before  him  some  boil'd  Beans  and  Venison,  and 
mix'd  some  Rum  and  Water  for  his  Drink.  When  he  was 
well  refresh'd,  and  had  lit  his  Pipe,  Canassatego  began  to 


converse  with  him ;  ask'd  how  he  had  f ar'd  the  many  Years 
since  they  had  seen  each  other;  whence  he  then  came; 
what  occasion'd  the  Journey,  &c.  Conrad  answered  all 
his  Questions;  and  when  the  Discourse  began  to  flag,  the 
Indian,  to  continue  it,  said,  "Conrad,  you  have  lived  long 
among  the  white  People,  and  know  something  of  their  Cus- 
toms ;  I  have  been  sometimes  at  Albany,  and  have  observed, 
that  once  in  Seven  Days  they  shut  up  their  Shops,  and 
assemble  all  in  the  great  House;  tell  me  what  it  is  for? 
What  do  they  do  there?"  "They  meet  there,"  says  Conrad, 
"to  hear  and  learn  good  Things."  "I  do  not  doubt,"  says 
the  Indian,  "that  they  tell  you  so;  they  have  told  me  the 
same;  but  I  doubt  the  Truth  of  what  they  say,  and  I  will 
tell  you  my  Reasons.  I  went  lately  to  Albany  to  sell  my 
Skins  and  buy  Blankets,  Knives,  Powder,  Rum,  &c.  You 
know  I  us'd  generally  to  deal  with  Hans  Hanson ;  but  I  was 
a  little  inclin'd  this  time  to  try  some  other  Merchant.  How- 
ever, I  call'd  first  upon  Hans,  and  asked  him  what  he  would 
give  for  Beaver.  He  said  he  could  not  give  any  more  than 
four  Shillings  a  Pound;  'but,'  says  he,  'I  cannot  talk  on 
Business  now;  this  is  the  Day  when  we  meet  together  to 
learn  Good  Things,  and  I  am  going  to  the  Meeting.'  So  I 
thought  to  myself,  '  Since  we  cannot  do  any  Business  to-day, 
I  may  as  well  go  to  the  meeting  too,'  and  I  went  with  him. 
There  stood  up  a  Man  in  Black,  and  began  to  talk  to  the 
People  very  angrily.  I  did  not  understand  what  he  said ; 
but,  perceiving  that  he  look'd  much  at  me  and  at  Hanson,  I 
imagin'd  he  was  angry  at  seeing  me  there ;  so  I  went  out,  sat 
down  near  the  House,  struck  Fire,  and  lit  my  Pipe,  waiting 
till  the  Meeting  should  break  up.  I  thought  too,  that  the 
Man  had  mention'd  something  of  Beaver,  and  I  suspected  it 


might  be  the  Subject  of  their  Meeting.  So,  when  they  came 
out,  I  accosted  my  Merchant.  'Well,  Hans,'  says  I,  'I 
hope  you  have  agreed  to  give  more  than  four  Shillings  a 
Pound.'  'No,'  says  he,  'I  cannot  give  so  much;  I  cannot 
give  more  than  three  shillings  and  sixpence.'  I  then  spoke 
to  several  other  Dealers,  but  they  all  sung  the  same  song,  — 
Three  and  sixpence,  —  Three  and  sixpence.  This  made  it 
clear  to  me,  that  my  Suspicion  was  right ;  and,  that  whatever 
they  pretended  of  meeting  to  learn  good  Things,  the  real  pur- 
pose was  to  consult  how  to  cheat  Indians  in  the  Price  of 
Beaver.  Consider  but  a  little,  Conrad,  and  you  must  be 
of  my  Opinion.  If  they  met  so  often  to  learn  good  Things, 
they  would  certainly  have  learnt  some  before  this  time. 
But  they  are  still  ignorant.  You  know  our  Practice.  If  a 
white  Man,  in  travelling  thro'  our  Country,  enters  one  of  our 
Cabins,  we  all  treat  him  as  I  treat  you ;  we  dry  him  if  he  is 
wet,  we  warm  him  if  he  is  cold,  we  give  him  Meat  and  Drink, 
that  he  may  allay  his  Thirst  and  Hunger;  and  we  spread 
soft  Furs  for  him  to  rest  and  sleep  on ;  we  demand  nothing 
in  return.  But,  if  I  go  into  a  white  Man's  House  at  Albany, 
and  ask  for  Victuals  and  Drink,  they  say,  'Where  is  your 
Money  ? '  and  if  I  have  none,  they  say,  '  Get  out,  you  Indian 
Dog.'  You  see  they  have  not  yet  learned  those  little  Good 
Things,  that  we  need  no  Meetings  to  be  instructed  in,  be- 
cause our  Mothers  taught  them  to  us  when  we  were  Children ; 
and  therefore  it  is  impossible  their  Meetings  should  be,  as 
they  say,  for  any  such  purpose,  or  have  any  such  Effect; 
they  are  only  to  contrive  the  Cheating  of  Indians  in  the  Price 
of  Beaver." 

NOTE.  —  It  is  remarkable  that  in  all  Ages  and  Countries  Hospitality  has  been 
allow'd  as  the  Virtue  of  those  whom  the  civiliz'd  were  pleas'd  to  call  Barba- 


rians.  The  Greeks  celebrated  the  Scythians  for  it.  The  Saracens  possess'd 
it  eminently,  and  it  is  to  this  day  the  reigning  Virtue  of  the  wild  Arabs. 
St.  Paul,  too,  in  the  Relation  of  his  Voyage  and  Shipwreck  on  the  Island  of 
Melita  says  the  Barbarous  People  shewed  us  no  little  kindness  ;  for  they  kin- 
dled a  fire,  and  received  us  every  one,  because  of  the  present  Rain,  and  be- 
cause of  the  Cold.  —  F. 

1798.     THE  RETORT   COURTEOUS1       (L.  c.) 

"John  Oxly,  Pawnbroker  of  Bethnal  Green,  was  indicted  for  assaulting 
Jonathan  Boldsworth  on  the  Highway,  putting  him  in  fear,  and  taking  from 
him  one  Silver  Watch,  value  5/.  5*.  The  Prisoner  pleaded,  that,  having  sold 
the  Watch  to  the  Prosecutor,  and  being  immediately  after  informed  by  a 
Person  who  knew  him,  that  he  was  not  likely  to  pay  for  the  same,  he  had 
only  followed  him  and  taken  the  Watch  back  again.  But  it  appearing  on 
the  Trial,  that,  presuming  he  had  not  been  known  when  he  committed  the 
Robbery,  he  had  afterwards  sued  the  Prosecutor  for  the  Debt,  on  his  Note 
of  Hand,  he  was  found  Guilty,  DEATH."  —  Old  Bailey  Sessions  Paper,  1747. 

I  CHOSE  the  above  Extract  from  the  Proceedings  at  the 
Old  Bailey  in  the  Trial  of  Criminals,  as  a  Motto  or  Text, 
on  which  to  amplify  in  my  ensuing  Discourse.  But  on 
second  Thoughts,  having  given  it  forth,  I  shall,  after  the 
Example  of  some  other  Preachers,  quit  it  for  the  present,  and 
leave  to  my  Readers,  if  I  should  happen  to  have  any,  the 
Task  of  discovering  what  Relation  there  may  possibly  be 
between  my  Text  and  my  Sermon. 

During  some  Years  past,  the  British  Newspapers  have 
been  filled  with  Reflections  on  the  Inhabitants  of  America, 
tor  not  paying  their  old  Debts  to  English  Merchants.  And 

1  The  extract  from  the  Sessions  Paper  and  the  first  paragraph  of  this  article 
are  written  in  Franklin's  hand,  in  ink,  on  the  back  of  a  letter  to  him  from 
T.  Barker,  dated  April  16, 1786.  [Jonathan  Boldsworth  is  there  called  Henry."] 
The  article  seems  to  be  referred  to  in  Franklin  to  Bishop  Shipley,  February 
24,  1786,  and  is  certainly  the  paper  mentioned  in  a  letter  to  Le  Veillard, 
April  15,  1787.  It  is  there  said  to  have  been  written  about  a  year.  —  ED. 


from  these  Papers  the  same  Reflections  have  been  translated 
into  Foreign  Prints,  and  circulated  throughout  Europe; 
whereby  the  American  Character,  respecting  Honour, 
Probity,  and  Justice  in  commercial  Transactions,  is  made  to 
suffer  in  the  Opinion  of  Strangers,  which  may  be  attended 
with  pernicious  Consequences. 

At  length  we  are  told  that  the  British  Court  has  taken  up 
the  Complaint,  and  seriously  offer'd  it  as  a  reason  for  refusing 
to  evacuate  the  Frontier  Posts  according  to  Treaty.  This 
gives  a  kind  of  Authenticity  to  the  Charge,  and  makes  it  now 
more  necessary  to  examine  the  matter  thoro'ly;  to  inquire 
impartially  into  the  Conduct  of  both  Nations;  take  Blame 
to  ourselves  where  we  have  merited  it ;  and,  where  it  may  be 
fairly  done,  mitigate  the  Severity  of  the  Censures  that  are  so 
liberally  bestow'd  upon  us. 

We  may  begin  by  observing,  that  before  the  War  our 
mercantile  Character  was  good.  In  Proof  of  this  (and  a 
stronger  Proof  can  hardly  be  desired),  the  Votes  of  the  House 
of  Commons  in  1774-5  have  recorded  a  Petition  signed  by  the 
Body  of  the  Merchants  of  London  trading  to  North  America, 
hi  which  they  expressly  set  forth,  not  only  that  the  Trade 
was  profitable  to  the  Kingdom,  but  that  the  Remittances  and 
Payments  were  as  punctually  and  faithfully  made,  as  in  any 
other  Branch  of  Commerce  whatever.  These  Gentlemen 
were  certainly  competent  Judges,  and  as  to  that  Point  could 
have  no  Interest  in  deceiving  the  Government. 

The  making  of  these  punctual  Remittances  was  however  a 
Difficulty.  Britain,  acting  on  the  selfish  and  perhaps  mis- 
taken Principle  of  receiving  nothing  from  abroad  that  could 
be  produced  at  home,  would  take  no  Articles  of  our  Produce 
that  interfered  with  any  of  her  own ;  and  what  did  not  inter- 


fere,  she  loaded  with  heavy  Duties.  We  had  no  Mines  of  Gold 
or  Silver.  We  were  therefore  oblig'd  to  run  the  World  over,  in 
search  of  something  that  would  be  receiv'd  in  England.  We 
sent  our  Provisions  and  Lumber  to  the  West  Indies,  where 
Exchange  was  made  for  Sugars,  Cotton,  &c.  to  remit.  We 
brought  Mollasses  from  thence,  distill'd  it  into  Rum,  with 
which  we  traded  in  Africa,  and  remitted  the  Gold  Dust  to 
England.  We  employ'd  ourselves  in  the  Fisheries,  and  sent 
the  Fish  we  caught,  together  with  Quantities  of  Wheat 
Flour,  and  Rice,  to  Spain  and  Portugal,  from  whence  the 
Amount  was  remitted  to  England  in  Cash  or  Bills  of  Exchange. 
Great  Quantities  of  our  Rice,  too,  went  to  Holland,  Ham- 
burgh &c.,  and  the  Value  of  that  was  also  sent  to  Britain. 
Add  to  this,  that  contenting  ourselves  with  Paper,  all  the  hard 
Money  we  could  possibly  pick  up  among  the  Foreign  West 
India  Islands,  was  continually  sent  off  to  Britain,  not  a  Ship 
going  thither  from  America  without  some  Chests  of  those 
precious  Metals. 

Imagine  this  great  Machine  of  mutually  advantageous 
Commerce,  going  roundly  on,  in  full  Train;  our  Ports  all 
busy,  receiving  and  selling  British  Manufactures,  and  equip- 
ping Ships  for  the  circuitous  Trade,  that  was  finally  to  pro- 
cure the  necessary  Remittances ;  the  Seas  covered  with  those 
Ships,  and  with  several  hundred  Sail  of  our  Fishermen,  all 
working  for  Britain;  and  then  let  us  consider  what  Effect 
the  Conduct  of  Britain,  in  1774  and  1775  and  the  following 
Years,  must  naturally  have  on  the  future  Ability  of  our  Mer- 
chants to  make  the  Payments  in  question. 

We  will  not  here  enter  into  the  Motives  of  that  Conduct ; 
they  are  well  enough  known,  and  not  to  her  Honour.  The 
first  Step  was  shutting  up  the  Port  of  Boston  by  an  Act  of 


Parliament;  the  next,  to  prohibit  by  another  the  New  Eng- 
land Fishery.  An  Army  and  a  Fleet  were  sent  to  enforce 
these  Acts.  Here  was  a  Stop  put  at  once  to  all  the  mercantile 
Operations  of  one  of  the  greatest  trading  Cities  of  America; 
the  Fishing  Vessels  all  laid  up,  and  the  usual  Remittances,  by 
way  of  Spain,  Portugal,  and  the  Straits,  render'd  impossible. 
Yet  the  Cry  was  now  begun  against  us,  These  New  England 
People  do  not  pay  their  Debts! 

The  Ships  of  the  Fleet  employ'd  themselves  hi  cruising 
separately  all  along  the  Coast.  The  marine  Gentry  are 
seldom  so  well  contented  with  their  Pay,  as  not  to  like  a  little 
Plunder.  They  stopp'd  and  seiz'd,  under  slight  Pretences, 
the  American  Vessels  they  met  with,  belonging  to  whatever 
Colony.  This  checked  the  Commerce  of  them  all.  Ships 
loaded  with  Cargoes  destin'd  either  directly  or  indirectly  to 
make  Remittance  in  England,  were  not  spared.  If  the 
Difference  between  the  two  Countries  had  been  then  accom- 
modated, these  unauthoriz'd  Plunderers  would  have  been 
called  to  account,  and  many  of  their  Exploits  must  have 
been  found  Piracy.  But  what  cur'd  all  this,  set  their  Minds 
at  ease,  made  short  Work,  and  gave  full  Scope  to  their 
Piratical  Disposition,  was  another  Act  of  Parliament,  for- 
bidding any  Inquisition  into  those  past  Facts,  declaring  them 
all  Lawful,  and  all  American  Property  to  be  forfeited,  whether 
on  Sea  or  Land,  and  authorizing  the  King's  British  Subjects 
to  take,  seize,  sink,  burn,  or  destroy,  whatever  they  could  find 
of  it.  The  Property  suddenly,  and  by  surprise  taken  from  our 
Merchants  by  the  Operation  of  this  Act,  is  incomputable. 
And  yet  the  Cry  did  not  diminish,  These  Americans  don't 
pay  their  Debts! 

Had  the  several  States  of  America,  on  the  Publication  of 


this  Act  seiz'd  all  British  Property  in  their  Power,  whether 
consisting  of  Lands  in  their  Country,  Ships  in  their  Har- 
bours, or  Debts  in  the  Hands  of  their  Merchants,  by  way 
of  Retaliation,  it  is  probable  a  great  Part  of  the  World 
would  have  deem'd  such  Conduct  justifiable.  They,  it 
seems,  thought  otherwise,  and  it  was  done  only  in  one  or 
two  States,  and  that  under  particular  Circumstances  of 
Provocation.  And  not  having  thus  abolish'd  all  Demands, 
the  Cry  subsists,  that  the  Americans  should  pay  their 

General  Gage,  being  with  his  Army  (before  the  declaration 
of  open  War)  in  peaceable  Possession  of  Boston,  shut  its 
Gates,  and  plac'd  Guards  all  around  to  prevent  its  Communi- 
cation with  the  Country.  The  Inhabitants  were  on  the 
Point  of  Starving.  The  general,  though  they  were  evidently 
at  his  Mercy,  fearing  that,  while  they  had  any  Arms  in  their 
Hands,  frantic  Desperation  might  possibly  do  him  some 
Mischief,  propos'd  to  them  a  Capitulation,  hi  which  he  stipu- 
lated, that  if  they  would  deliver  up  their  Arms,  they  might 
leave  the  Town  with  their  Families  and  Goods.  In  faith  of 
this  Agreement,  they  deliver'd  their  Arms.  But  when  they 
began  to  pack  up  for  their  Departure,  they  were  inform'd, 
that  by  the  word  Goods,  the  General  understood  only  Hous- 
hold  Goods,  that  is,  their  Beds,  Chairs,  and  Tables,  not 
Merchant  Goods;  those  he  was  inform'd  they  were  indebted 
for  to  the  Merchants  of  England,  and  he  must  secure  them 
for  the  Creditors.  They  were  accordingly  all  seized,  to  an 
immense  Value,  "what  had  been  paid  for  not  excepted.  It  is 
to  be  supposed,  tho'  we  have  never  heard  of  it,  that  this  very 
honourable  General,  when  he  returned  home,  made  a  just 
Dividend  of  those  Goods,  or  their  Value,  among  the  said 


Creditors.  But  the  Cry  nevertheless  continued,  These  Bos- 
ton People  do  not  pay  their  Debts! 

The  Army,  having  thus  ruin'd  Boston,  proceeded  to  differ- 
ent Parts  of  the  Continent.  They  got  possession  of  all  the 
capital  trading  Towns.  The  Troops  gorg'd  themselves  with 
Plunder.  They  stopp'd  all  the  Trade  of  Philadelphia  for 
near  a  year,  of  Rhode  Island  longer,  of  New  York  near 
eight  Years,  of  Charlestown  in  South  Carolina  and  Savanah 
in  Georgia,  I  forget  how  long.  This  continu'd  Interruption 
of  their  Commerce  ruin'd  many  Merchants.  The  Army  also 
burnt  to  the  Ground  the  fine  Towns  of  Falmouth  and  Charles- 
town  near  Boston,  New  London,  Fairfield,  Norwalk,  Esopus, 
Norfolk,  the  chief  trading  City  hi  Virginia,  besides  innumer- 
able Country  Seats  and  private  Farm-Houses.  This  wanton 
Destruction  of  Property  operated  doubly  to  the  Disabling 
of  our  Merchants,  who  were  importers  from  Britain,  hi  mak- 
ing their  Payments,  by  the  immoderate  Loss  they  sustain'd 
themselves,  and  also  the  Loss  suffered  by  their  Country 
Debtors,  who  had  bought  of  them  the  British  Goods,  and  who 
were  now  render'd  unable  to  pay.  The  Debts  to  Britain  of 
course  remained  undischarg'd,  and  the  Clamour  continu'd, 
These  knavish  Americans  will  not  pay  us! 

Many  of  the  British  Debts,  particularly  in  Virginia  and  the 
Carolinas,  arose  from  the  Sales  made  of  Negroes  in  those 
Provinces  by  the  British  Guinea  merchants.1  These,  with 
all  before  in  the  country,  were  employed  when  the 
war  came  on,  hi  raising  tobacco  and  rice  for  remittance 
hi  payment  of  British  debts.  An  order  arrives  from 
England,  advised  by  one  of  their  most  celebrated  moralists, 
Dr.  Johnson,  in  his  Taxation  no  Tyranny,  to  excite  these  slaves 

1  At  this  point  the  draft  in  L.  C.  terminates.  —  ED. 


to  rise,  cut  the  throats  of  their  purchasers,  and  resort  to  the 
British  army,  where  they  should  be  rewarded  with  freedom. 
This  was  done,  and  the  planters  were  thus  deprived  of  near 
thirty  thousand  of  their  working  people.  Yet  the  demand 
for  those  sold  and  unpaid  still  exists ;  and  the  cry  continues 
against  the  Virginians  and  Carolinians,  that  they  do  not  pay 
their  debts! 

Virginia  suffered  great  loss  in  this  kind  of  property  by 
another  ingenious  and  humane  British  invention.  Having 
the  small-pox  in  their  army  while  in  that  country,  they  inocu- 
lated some  of  the  negroes  they  took  as  prisoners  belonging  to  a 
number  of  plantations,  and  then  let  them  escape,  or  sent  them, 
covered  with  the  pock,  to  mix  with  and  spread  the  distemper 
among  the  others  of  their  colour,  as  well  as  among  the  white 
country  people ;  which  occasioned  a  great  mortality  of  both, 
and  certainly  did  not  contribute  to  the  enabling  debtors  in 
making  payment.  The  war  too  having  put  a  stop  to  the 
exportation  of  tobacco,  there  was  a  great  accumulation  of 
several  years'  produce  in  all  the  public  inspecting  warehouses 
and  private  stores  of  the  planters.  Arnold,  Phillips,  and 
Cornwallis,  with  British  troops,  then  entered  and  overran  the 
country,  burnt  all  the  inspecting  and  other  stores  of  tobacco, 
to  the  amount  of  some  hundred  ship-loads ;  all  which  might, 
on  the  return  of  peace,  if  it  had  not  been  thus  wantonly  de- 
stroyed, have  been  remitted  to  British  creditors.  But  these 
d — d  Virginians,  why  don't  they  pay  their  debts  ? 

Paper  money  was  in  those  times  our  universal  currency. 
But,  it  being  the  instrument  with  which  we  combated  our 
enemies,  they  resolved  to  deprive  us  of  its  use  by  depreciating 
it;  and  the  most  effectual  means  they  could  contrive  was  to 
counterfeit  it.  The  artists  they  employed  performed  so 


well,  that  immense  quantities  of  these  counterfeits,  which 
issued  from  the  British  government  in  New  York,  were  cir- 
culated among  the  inhabitants  of  all  the  States,  before  the 
fraud  was  detected.  This  operated  considerably  in  depre- 
ciating the  whole  mass,  first,  by  the  vast  additional  quantity, 
and  next  by  the  uncertainty  in  distinguishing  the  true  from 
the  false;  and  the  depreciation  was  a  loss  to  all  and  the 
ruin  of  many.  It  is  true  our  enemies  gained  a  vast  deal  of 
our  property  by  the  operation ;  but  it  did  not  go  into  the  hands 
of  our  particular  creditors ;  so  their  demands  still  subsisted, 
and  we  were  still  abused  for  not  paying  our  debts! 

By  the  seventh  article  of  the  treaty  of  peace,  it  was  solemnly 
stipulated,  that  the  King's  troops,  in  evacuating  their  posts 
in  the  United  States,  should  not  carry  away  with  them  any 
negroes.  In  direct  violation  of  this  article,  General  Carleton, 
in  evacuating  New  York,  carried  off  all  the  negroes  that  were 
with  his  army,  to  the  amount  of  several  hundreds.  It  is  not 
doubted  that  he  must  have  had  secret  orders  to  justify  him 
in  this  transaction;  but  the  reason  given  out  was,  that,  as 
they  had  quitted  their  masters  and  joined  the  King's  troops 
on  the  faith  of  proclamations  promising  them  their  liberty, 
the  national  honour  forbade  returning  them  into  slavery. 
The  national  honour  was,  it  seemed,  pledged  to  both  parts  of 
a  contradiction,  and  its  wisdom,  since  it  could  not  do  it  with 
both,  chose  to  keep  faith  rather  with  its  old  black,  than  its 
new  white  friends;  a  circumstance  demonstrating  clear  as 
daylight,  that,  hi  making  a  present  peace,  they  meditated  a 
future  war,  and  hoped,  that,  though  the  promised  manu- 
mission of  slaves  had  not  been  effectual  in  the  last,  in  the  next 
it  might  be  more  successful ;  and  that,  had  the  negroes  been 
forsaken,  no  aid  could  be  hereafter  expected  from  those  of 


the  colour  in  a  future  invasion.  The  treaty  however  with  us 
was  thus  broken  almost  as  soon  as  made,  and  this  by  the  people 
who  charge  us  with  breaking  it  by  not  paying  perhaps  for 
some  of  the  very  negroes  carried  off  in  defiance  of  it.  Why 
should  England  observe  treaties,  when  these  Americans  do  not 
pay  their  debts? 

Unreasonable,  however,  as  this  clamour  appears  in  general, 
I  do  not  pretend,  by  exposing  it,  to  justify  those  debtors  who 
are  still  able  to  pay,  and  refuse  it  on  pretence  of  injuries 
suffered  by  the  war.  Public  injuries  can  never  discharge 
private  obligations.  Contracts  between  merchant  and  mer- 
chant should  be  sacredly  observed,  where  the  ability  remains, 
whatever  may  be  the  madness  of  ministers.  It  is  therefore 
to  be  hoped  the  fourth  article  of  the  treaty  of  peace  which 
stipulates,  that  no  legal  obstruction  shall  be  given  to  the  pay- 
ment of  debts  contracted  before  the  war,  will  be  punctually 
carried  into  execution,  and  that  every  law  in  every  State  which 
impedes  it,  may  be  immediately  repealed.  Those  laws  were 
indeed  made  with  honest  intentions,  that  the  half-ruined 
debtor,  not  being  too  suddenly  pressed  by  some,  might  have 
time  to  arrange  and  recover  his  affairs  so  as  to  do  justice  to 
all  his  creditors.  But,  since  the  intention  in  making  those  acts 
has  been  misapprehended,  and  the  acts  wilfully  misconstrued 
into  a  design  of  defrauding  them,  and  now  made  a  matter  of 
reproach  to  us,  I  think  it  will  be  right  to  repeal  them  all. 
Individual  Americans  may  be  ruined,  but  the  country  will 
save  by  the  operation;  since  these  unthinking,  merciless 
creditors  must  be  contented  with  all  that  is  to  be  had,  instead 
of  all  that  may  be  due  to  them,  and  the  accounts  will  be 
settled  by  insolvency.  When  all  have  paid  that  can  pay,  I 
think  the  remaining  British  creditors,  who  suffered  by  the 
VOL.  x — i 


inability  of  their  ruined  debtors,  have  some  right  to  call  upon 
their  own  government  (which  by  its  bad  projects  has  ruined 
those  debtors)  for  a  compensation.  A  sum  given  by  Parlia- 
ment for  this  purpose  would  be  more  properly  disposed,  than 
in  rewarding  pretended  loyalists,  who  fomented  the  war. 
And,  the  heavier  the  sum,  the  more  tendency  it  might  have 
to  discourage  such  destructive  projects  hereafter. 

Among  the  merchants  of  Britain,  trading  formerly  to 
America,  there  are  to  my  knowledge  many  considerate  and 
generous  men,  who  never  joined  in  this  clamour,  and  who, 
on  the  return  of  peace,  though  by  the  treaty  entitled  to  an 
immediate  suit  for  their  debts,  were  kindly  disposed  to  give 
their  debtors  reasonable  time  for  restoring  their  circumstances, 
so  as  to  be  able  to  make  payment  conveniently.  These  de- 
serve the  most  grateful  acknowledgments.  And  indeed  it  was 
in  their  favour,  and  perhaps  for  their  sakes  in  favour  of  all 
other  British  creditors,  that  the  law  of  Pennsylvania,  though 
since  much  exclaimed  against,  was  made,  restraining  the 
recovery  of  old  debts  during  a  certain  time.  For  this  restraint 
was  general,  respecting  domestic  as  well  as  British  debts, 
it  being  thought  unfair,  in  cases  where  there  was  not  suffi- 
cient for  all,  that  the  inhabitants,  taking  advantage  of  their 
nearer  situation,  should  swallow  the  whole,  excluding  foreign 
creditors  from  any  share.  And  in  cases  where  the  favourable 
part  of  the  foreign  creditors  were  disposed  to  give  time,  with 
the  views  abovementioned,  if  others  less  humane  and  con- 
siderate were  allowed  to  bring  immediate  suits  and  ruin  the 
debtor,  those  views  would  be  defeated.  When  this  law 
expired  in  September,  1 784,  a  new  one  was  made,  continuing 
for  some  time  longer  the  restraint  with  respect  to  domestic 
debts,  but  expressly  taking  it  away  where  the  debt  was  due 


from  citizens  of  the  State  to  any  of  the  subjects  of  Great 
Britain ; 1  which  shows  clearly  the  disposition  of  the  Assembly, 
and  that  the  fair  intentions  above  ascribed  to  them  in  making 
the  former  act,  are  not  merely  the  imagination  of  the  writer. 
Indeed,  the  clamour  has  been  much  augmented  by  numbers 
joining  it,  who  really  had  no  claim  on  our  country.  Every 
debtor  in  Britain,  engaged  in  whatever  trade,  when  he  had  no 
better  excuse  to  give  for  delay  of  payment,  accused  the  want  of 
returns  from  America.  And  the  indignation,  thus  excited 
against  us,  now  appears  so  general  among  the  English,  that 
one  would  imagine  their  nation,  which  is  so  exact  in  expect- 
ing punctual  payment  from  all  the  rest  of  the  world,  must 
be  at  home  the  model  of  justice,  the  very  pattern  of  punc- 
tuality. Yet,  if  one  were  disposed  to  recriminate,  it  would 
not  be  difficult  to  find  sufficient  Matter  in  several  Parts  of 
their  Conduct.  But  this  I  forbear.  The  two  separate 
Nations  are  now  at  Peace,  and  there  can  be  no  use  in  mutual 
Provocations  to  fresh  Enmity.  If  I  have  shown  clearly  that 
the  present  Inability  of  many  American  Merchants  to  dis- 
charge their  Debts,  contracted  before  the  War,  is  not  so  much 
their  Fault,  as  the  Fault  of  the  crediting  Nation,  who,  by 
making  an  unjust  War  on  them,  obstructing  their  Commerce, 
plundering  and  devastating  their  Country,  were  the  Cause  of 

1  Extract  from  an  Act  of  the  General  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania,  entitled, 
"  An  Act  for  directing  the  Mode  of  recovering  Debts  contracted  before  the 
first  Day  of  January,  in  the  Year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven  hundred 
and  seventy-seven." 

Exception  in  Favour  of  British  Creditors. 

"  Sect.  7.  And  provided  also,  and  be  it  further  enacted  by  the  authority 
aforesaid,  that  this  Act,  nor  any  thing  therein  contained,  shall  not  extend,  or 
be  construed  to  extend,  to  any  debt  or  debts  which  were  due  before  the  fourth 
day  of  July,  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  seventy-six,  by  any  of  the 
citizens  of  the  State,  to  any  of  the  subjects  of  Great  Britain."  —  F. 


that  Inability,  I  have  answered  the  Purpose  of  writing  this 
Paper.  How  far  the  Refusal  of  the  British  Court  to  execute 
the  Treaty  in  delivering  up  the  Frontier  Posts  may  on  account 
of  this  Deficiency  of  Payment,  be  justifiable,  is  chearfully 
submitted  to  the  World's  impartial  Judgment. 


(L.   C.) 


THERE  is  a  Tradition,  that,  in  the  Planting  of  New  England, 
the  first  Settlers  met  with  many  Difficulties  and  Hardships 
as  is  generally  the  Case  when  a  civilized  People  attempt 
establishing  themselves  in  a  wilderness  Country.  Being 
piously  dispos'd,  they  sought  Relief  from  Heaven,  by  laying 
their  Wants  and  Distresses  before  the  Lord,  in  frequent  set 
Days  of  Fasting  and  Prayer.  Constant  Meditation  and 
Discourse  on  these  Subjects  kept  their  Minds  gloomy  and 
discontented;  and,  like  the  Children  of  Israel,  there  were 
many  dispos'd  to  return  to  that  Egypt,  which  Persecution 
had  induc'd  them  to  abandon.  At  length,  when  it  was  pro- 
posed in  the  Assembly  to  proclaim  another  Fast,  a  Farmer 
of  plain  Sense  rose,  and  remark'd,  that  the  Inconveniencies 
they  suffer'd,  and  concerning  which  they  had  so  often  weary'd 
Heaven  with  their  Complaints,  were  not  so  great  as  they 

1  Two  copies,  the  rough  draft  and  a  transcript,  of  this  article  exist  in  L.  C. 
Sparks  and  Bigelow  printed  from  the  transcript.  I  have  followed  the  rough 
draft.  —  ED. 


might  have  expected,  and  were  diminishing  every  day,  as 
the  Colony  strengthen'd ;  that  the  Earth  began  to  reward 
their  Labour,  and  to  furnish  liberally  for  their  Subsistence; 
that  the  Seas  and  Rivers  were  full  of  Fish,  the  Air  sweet, 
the  Climate  healthy ;  and,  above  all,  that  they  were  there  in 
the  full  Enjoyment  of  Liberty,  civil  and  religious.  He  there- 
fore thought,  that  reflecting  and  conversing  on  these  Subjects 
would  be  more  comfortable,  as  tending  more  to  make  them 
contented  with  their  Situation;  and  that  it  would  be  more 
becoming  the  Gratitude  they  ow'd  to  the  Divine  Being,  if, 
instead  of  a  Fast,  they  should  proclaim  a  Thanksgiving.  His 
Advice  was  taken;  and  from  that  day  to  this  they  have,  in 
every  Year,  observ'd  Circumstances  of  public  Felicity 
sufficient  to  furnish  Employment  for  a  Thanksgiving  Day; 
which  is  therefore  constantly  ordered  and  religiously  ob- 

I  see  in  the  Public  Papers  of  different  States  frequent 
Complaints  of  hard  Times,  deadness  of  Trade,  scarcity  of 
Money,  &c.  It  is  not  my  Intention  to  assert  or  maintain, 
that  these  Complaints  are  intirely  without  Foundation. 
There  can  be  no  Country  or  Nation  existing,  hi  which  there 
will  not  be  some  People  so  circumstanced,  as  to  find  it  hard 
to  gain  a  Livelihood ;  people  who  are  not  in  the  way  of  any 
profitable  Trade,  and  with  whom  Money  is  scarce,  because 
they  have  nothing  to  give  in  Exchange  for  it ;  and  it  is  always 
in  the  Power  of  a  small  Number  to  make  a  great  Clamour. 
But  let  us  take  a  cool  View  of  the  general  State  of  our  Affairs, 
and  perhaps  the  Prospect  will  appear  less  gloomy  than  has 
been  imagined. 

The  great  Business  of  the  Continent  is  Agriculture.  For 
one  Artisan,  or  Merchant,  I  suppose,  we  have  at  least  100 


Farmers,  by  far  the  greatest  part  Cultivators  of  their  own 
fertile  Lands,  from  whence  many  of  them  draw,  not  only  the 
Food  necessary  for  their  Subsistance,  but  the  Materials  of 
their  Clothing,  so  as  to  have  little  Occasion  for  foreign  Sup- 
plies ;  while  they  have  a  Surplus  of  Productions  to  dispose  of, 
whereby  Wealth  is  gradually  accumulated.  Such  has  been 
the  Goodness  of  Divine  Providence  to  these  Regions,  and  so 
favourable  the  Climate,  that,  since  the  three  or  four  Years  of 
Hardship  hi  the  first  Settlement  of  our  Fathers  here,  a  Famine 
or  Scarcity  has  never  been  heard  of  among  us;  on  the  con- 
trary, tho'  some  Years  may  have  been  more,  and  others  less 
plentiful,  there  has  always  been  Provision  enough  for  our- 
selves, and  a  Quantity  to  spare  for  Exportation.  And  altho' 
the  Crops  of  last  year  were  generally  good,  never  was  the 
Farmer  better  paid  for  the  Part  he  can  spare  Commerce,  as 
the  published  Price-Currents  abundantly  testify.  The  Lands 
he  possesses  are  also  continually  rising  in  Value  with  the 
Increase  of  Population ;  and,  on  the  whole,  he  is  enabled  to 
give  such  good  Wages  to  those  who  work  for  him,  that  all 
who  are  acquainted  with  the  old  World  must  agree,  that 
in  no  Part  of  it  are  the  labouring  Poor  so  well  fed,  well 
cloth'd,  well  lodg'd,  and  well  paid,  as  in  the  United  States  of 

If  we  enter  the  Cities,  we  find,  that,  since  the  Revolution, 
the  Owners  of  Houses  and  Lots  of  Ground  have  had  their 
Interest  vastly  augmented  in  Value ;  Rents  have  risen  to  an 
astonishing  Height,  and  thence  Encouragement  to  encrease 
Building,  which  gives  Employment  to  an  abundance  of 
Workmen,  as  does  also  the  encreas'd  Luxury  and  Splendor  of 
Living  of  the  Inhabitants,  thus  made  richer.  These  Work- 
men all  demand  and  obtain  much  higher  Wages  than  any 


other  Part  of  the  World  would  afford  them,  and  are  paid  in 
ready  Money.  This  Rank  of  People  therefore  do  not,  or 
ought  not,  to  complain  of  hard  Times ;  and  they  make  a  very 
considerable  part  of  the  City  Inhabitants. 

At  the  Distance  I  live  from  our  American  Fisheries,  I 
cannot  speak  of  them  with  any  Certainty;  but  I  have  not 
heard,  that  the  Labour  of  the  valuable  Race  of  Men  employ'd 
in  them  is  worse  paid,  or  that  they  meet  with  less  Success, 
than  before  the  Revolution.  The  Whalemen  indeed  have 
been  depriv'd  of  one  Market  for  their  Oil;  but  another,  I 
hear,  is  opening  for  them,  which  it  is  hoped  may  be  equally 
advantageous ;  and  the  Demand  is  constantly  encreasing  for 
their  Spermaceti  Candles,  which  therefore  bear  a  much  higher 
Price  than  formerly. 

There  remain  the  Merchants  and  Shopkeepers.  Of  these, 
tho'  they  make  but  a  small  Part  of  the  whole  Nation,  the 
Number  is  considerable,  too  great  indeed  for  the  Business 
they  are  employ'd  in:  For  the  Consumption  of  Goods  hi 
every  Country,  has  its  Limits;  the  Faculties  of  the  People, 
that  is,  their  Ability  to  buy  and  pay,  being  equal  only  to  a 
certain  Quantity  of  Merchandize.  If  Merchants  calculate 
amiss  on  this  Proportion,  and  import  too  much,  they  will  of 
course  find  the  Sale  dull  for  the  Overplus,  and  some  of  them 
will  say,  that  Trade  languishes.  They  should,  and  doubt- 
less will,  grow  wiser  by  Experience,  and  import  less.  If  too 
many  Artificers  in  Town,  and  Farmers  from  the  Country, 
flattering  themselves  with  the  Idea  of  leading  easier  Lives, 
turn  Shopkeepers,  the  whole  natural  Quantity  of  Business 
divided  among  them  all  may  afford  too  small  a  Share  for 
each,  and  occasion  Complaints,  that  Trading  is  dead ;  these 
may  also  suppose,  that  it  is  owing  to  Scarcity  of  Money, 


while,  in  fact,  it  is  not  so  much  from  the  Fewness  of  Buyers, 
as  from  the  excessive  Number  of  Sellers,  that  the  Mischief 
arises;  and,  if  every  Shop-keeping  Farmer  and  Mechanic 
would  return  to  the  Use  of  his  Plough  and  working-Tools, 
there  would  remain  of  Widows,  and  other  Women,  Shop- 
keepers sufficient  for  that  Business,  which  might  then  afford 
them  a  comfortable  Maintenance. 

Whoever  has  travelled  thro'  the  various  Parts  of  Europe, 
and  observed  how  small  is  the  Proportion  of  People  hi  Afflu- 
ence or  easy  Circumstances  there,  compar'd  with  those  in 
Poverty  and  Misery;  the  few  rich  and  haughty  Landlords, 
the  multitude  of  poor,  abject,  and  rack'd  Tenants,  and  the 
half -paid  and  half-starv'd  ragged  Labourers ;  and  views  here 
the  happy  Mediocrity,  that  so  generally  prevails  throughout 
these  States,  where  the  Cultivator  works  for  himself,  and  sup- 
ports his  Family  in  decent  Plenty,  will,  methinks,  see  abun- 
dant Reason  to  bless  Divine  Providence  for  the  evident  and 
great  Difference  in  our  Favour,  and  be  convinc'd,  that  no 
Nation  that  is  known  to  us  enjoys  a  greater  Share  of  human 

It  is  true,  that  in  some  of  the  States  there  are  Parties  and 
Discords ;  but  let  us  look  back,  and  ask  if  we  were  ever  with- 
out them?  Such  will  exist  wherever  there  is  Liberty;  and 
perhaps  they  help  to  preserve  it.  By  the  Collision  of  differ- 
ent Sentiments,  Sparks  of  Truth  are  struck  out,  and  political 
Light  is  obtained.  The  different  Factions,  which  at  present 
divide  us,  aim  all  at  the  Publick  Good ;  the  Differences  are 
only  about  the  various  Modes  of  promoting  it.  Things, 
Actions,  Measures,  and  Objects  of  all  kinds,  present  themselves 
to  the  Minds  of  Men  in  such  a  Variety  of  Lights,  that  it  is 
not  possible  we  should  all  think  alike  at  the  same  time  on 


every  Subject,  when  hardly  the  same  Man  retains  at  all  times 
the  same  Ideas  of  it.  Parties  are  therefore  the  common  Lot 
of  Humanity;  and  ours  are  by  no  means  more  mischievous 
or  less  beneficial  than  those  of  other  Countries,  Nations,  and 
Ages,  enjoying  in  the  same  Degree  the  great  Blessing  of 
Political  Liberty. 

Some  indeed  among  us  are  not  so  much  griev'd  for  the 
present  State  of  our  Affairs,  as  apprehensive  for  the  future. 
The  Growth  of  Luxury  alarms  them,  and  they  think  we  are 
from  that  alone  in  the  high  Road  to  Ruin.  They  observe, 
that  no  Revenue  is  sufficient  without  Economy,  and  that  the 
most  plentiful  Income  of  a  whole  People  from  the  natural 
Productions  of  their  Country  may  be  dissipated  in  vain  and 
needless  Expences,  and  Poverty  be  introduced  hi  the  place 
of  Affluence.  This  may  be  possible.  It  however  rarely  hap- 
pens; for  there  seems  to  be  in  every  Nation  a  greater  Pro- 
portion of  Industry  and  Frugality,  which  tend  to  enrich,  than 
of  Idleness  and  Prodigality,  which  occasion  Poverty ;  so  that 
upon  the  whole  there  is  a  continual  Accumulation.  Reflect 
what  Spain,  Gaul,  Germany,  and  Britain  were  in  the  Time 
of  the  Romans,  inhabited  by  People  little  richer  than  our 
Savages,  and  consider  the  Wealth  they  at  present  possess, 
in  numerous  well-built  Cities,  improv'd  Farms,  rich  Move- 
ables,  Magazines  stor'd  with  valuable  Manufactures,  to 
say  nothing  of  Plate,  Jewels,  and  ready  Money ;  and  all  this, 
notwithstanding  their  bad,  wasteful,  plundering  Govern- 
ments, and  their  mad,  destructive  Wars;  and  yet  Luxury 
and  Extravagant  Living  have  never  suffered  much  Restraint 
in  those  Countries.  Then  consider  the  great  proportion  of 
industrious  frugal  Farmers  inhabiting  the  interior  Part  of 
these  American  States,  and  of  whom  the  Body  of  our  Nation 


consists;  and  judge  whether  it  is  probable  the  Luxury  of 
our  Seaports  can  be  sufficient  to  ruin  such  a  Country.  If 
the  Importation  of  foreign  Luxuries  could  ruin  a  People,  we 
should  probably  have  been  ruin'd  long  ago ;  for  the  British 
Nation  claim'd  a  right,  and  practis'd  it,  of  importing  among 
us,  not  only  the  Superfluities  of  their  own  Production,  but 
those  of  every  Nation  under  Heaven;  we  bought  and  con- 
sum'd  them,  and  yet  we  flourish'd  and  grew  rich.  At  present, 
our  independent  Governments  may  do  what  we  could  not 
then  do,  discourage  by  heavy  Duties,  or  prevent  by  Prohibi- 
tions, such  importations,  and  thereby  grow  richer;  if,  indeed, 
which  may  admit  of  Dispute,  the  Desire  of  adorning  ourselves 
with  fine  cloaths,  possessing  fine  Furniture,  with  good  Houses, 
&c.,  is  not,  by  strongly  inciting  to  Labour  and  Industry, 
the  occasion  of  producing  a  greater  Value,  than  is  consumed 
in  the  Gratification  of  that  Desire. 

The  Agriculture  and  Fisheries  of  the  United  States  are 
the  great  Sources  of  our  encreasing  Wealth.  He  that  puts 
a  Seed  into  the  Earth  is  recompens'd,  perhaps,  by  receiving 
twenty  out  of  it ;  and  he  who  draws  a  Fish  out  of  our  Waters, 
draws  up  a  Piece  of  Silver. 

Let  us  (and  there  is  no  Doubt  but  we  shall)  be  attentive 
to  these,  and  then  the  Power  of  Rivals,  with  all  their  restrain- 
ing and  prohibiting  Acts,  cannot  much  hurt  us.  We  are 
Sons  of  the  Earth  and  Seas,  and,  like  Antaeus,  if,  in  wrestling 
with  Hercules,  we  now  and  then  receive  a  Fall,  the  Touch 
of  our  Parents  will  communicate  to  us  fresh  Strength  and 
Ability  to  renew  the  contest.  Be  quiet  and  thankful. 


1800.    CONTE 

IL  y  avoit  un  offitier,  homme  de  bien,  appele*  Montrdsor, 
qui  e"toit  tres-malade;  son  curd,  croyant  qu'il  alloit  mourir, 
lui  conseilla  de  faire  sa  paix  avec  Dieu,  afin  d'etre  recu  en 
Paradis.  "Je  n'ai  pas  beaucoup  d 'inquietude  a  ce  sujet," 
dit  Montre'sor,  "car  j'ai  eu,  la  nuit  derniere,  une  vision  qui 
m'a  tout-a-fait  tranquilliseV'  "  Quelle  vision  avez-vous  cue  ?  " 
dit  le  bon  pr&re.  "J'&ois,"  rdpondit  Montre'sor,  "a  la 
porte  du  Paradis,  avec  une  foule  de  gens  qui  vouloient  entrer. 
Et  St.  Pierre  demandoit  a  chacun,  de  quelle  religion  il  e*toit. 
L'un  re*pondoit,  'Je  suis  Catholique  Remain.'  'He*  bien,' 
disoit  St.  Pierre,  'entrez,  et  prenez  votre  place  la  parmi  les 
Catholiques.'  Un  autre  dit,  qu'il  e*toit  de  l'6glise  Anglicane. 
'He*  bien,'  dit  St.  Pierre,  'entrez,  et  placez-vous  la  parmi  les 
Anglicans.'  Un  autre  dit  qu'il  e"toit  Quaker.  'Entrez,' 
dit  St.  Pierre,  'et  prenez  place  parmi  les  Quakers.'  Enfin, 
mon  tour  &ant  arrivd,  il  me  demanda  de  quelle  religion  j'&ois. 
'Helas!'  r6pondis-je,  '  malheureusement  le  pauvre  Jacques 
Montr&or  n'en  a  point.'  'C'est  dommage,'  dit  le  Saint,  *je 
ne  sais  oU  vous  placer;  mais  entrez  tou jours;  vous  vous 
mettrez  ou  vous  pourrez.'" 

1801.    AN  ARABIAN  TALE 

ALBUMAZAR,  the  good  magician,  retired  in  his  old  age  to  the 
top  of  the  lofty  mountain  Calabut;  avoided  the  society  of 
men,  but  was  visited  nightly  by  genii  and  spirits  of  the  first 


rank,  who  loved  him,  and  amused  him  with  their  instructive 

Belubel,  the  strong,  came  one  evening  to  see  Albumazar; 
his  height  was  seven  leagues,  and  his  wings  when  spread 
might  overshadow  a  kingdom.  He  laid  himself  gently  down 
between  the  long  ridges  of  Elluem;  the  tops  of  the  trees  in 
the  valley  were  his  couch ;  his  head  rested  on  Calabut  as  on 
a  pillow,  and  his  face  shone  on  the  tent  of  Albumazar. 

The  magician  spoke  to  him  with  rapturous  piety  of  the  wis- 
dom and  goodness  of  the  Most  High;  but  expressed  his 
wonder  at  the  existence  of  evil  in  the  world,  which  he  said 
he  could  not  account  for  by  all  the  efforts  of  his  reason. 

"Value  not  thyself,  my  friend,"  said  Belubel,  "on  that 
quality  which  thou  callest  reason.  If  thou  knewest  its 
origin  and  its  weakness,  it  would  rather  be  matter  of  humilia- 

"Tell  me  then,"  said  Albumazar,  "what  I  do  not  know; 
inform  my  ignorance,  and  enlighten  my  understanding." 
"Contemplate,"  said  Albumazar,  "the  scale  of  beings,  from 
an  elephant  down  to  an  oyster.  Thou  seest  a  gradual 
diminution  of  faculties  and  powers,  so  small  in  each  step 
that  the  difference  is  scarce  perceptible.  There  is  no  gap, 
but  the  gradation  is  complete.  Men  in  general  do  not  know, 
but  thou  knowest,  that  in  ascending  from  an  elephant  to  the 
infinitely  Great,  Good,  and  Wise,  there  is  also  a  long  grada- 
tion of  beings,  who  possess  powers  and  faculties  of  which 
thou  canst  yet  have  no  conception." 




I  ADDRESS  myself  to  all  the  friends  of  youth,  and  conjure 
them  to  direct  their  compassionate  regards  to  my  unhappy 
fate,  in  order  to  remove  the  prejudices  of  which  I  am  the  vic- 
tim. There  are  twin  sisters  of  us ;  and  the  two  eyes  of  man 
do  not  more  resemble,  nor  are  capable  of  being  upon  better 
terms  with  each  other,  than  my  sister  and  myself,  were  it  not 
for  the  partiality  of  our  parents,  who  make  the  most  injurious 
distinctions  between  us.  From  my  infancy,  I  have  been  led 
to  consider  my  sister  as  a  being  of  a  more  elevated  rank. 
I  was  suffered  to  grow  up  without  the  least  instruction, 
while  nothing  was  spared  in  her  education.  She  had  masters 
to  teach  her  writing,  drawing,  music,  and  other  accomplish- 
ments ;  but  if  by  chance  I  touched  a  pencil,  a  pen,  or  a  needle, 
I  was  bitterly  rebuked;  and  more  than  once  I  have  been 
beaten  for  being  awkward,  and  wanting  a  graceful  manner. 
It  is  true,  my  sister  associated  me  with  her  upon  some  occa- 
sions ;  but  she  always  made  a  point  of  taking  the  lead,  calling 
upon  me  only  from  necessity,  or  to  figure  by  her  side. 

But  conceive  not,  Sirs,  that  my  complaints  are  instigated 
merely  by  vanity.  No;  my  uneasiness  is  occasioned  by  an 
object  much  more  serious.  It  is  the  practice  in  our  family, 
that  the  whole  business  of  providing  for  its  subsistence  falls 
upon  my  sister  and  myself.  If  any  indisposition  should 
attack  my  sister,  —  and  I  mention  it  in  confidence  upon  this 
occasion,  that  she  is  subject  to  the  gout,  the  rheumatism, 
and  cramp,  without  making  mention  of  other  accidents,  — 


what  would  be  the  fate  of  our  poor  family?  Must  not  the 
regret  of  our  parents  be  excessive,  at  having  placed  so  great 
a  difference  between  sisters  who  are  so  perfectly  equal? 
Alas !  we  must  perish  from  distress ;  for  it  would  not  be  in  my 
power  even  to  scrawl  a  suppliant  petition  for  relief,  having  been 
obliged  to  employ  the  hand  of  another  hi  transcribing  the 
request  which  I  have  now  the  honour  to  prefer  to  you. 

Condescend,  Sirs,  to  make  my  parents  sensible  of  the 
injustice  of  an  exclusive  tenderness,  and  of  the  necessity  of 
distributing  their  care  and  affection  among  all  their  children 
equally.  I  am,  with  a  profound  respect,  Sirs,  your  obedient 



DELPHIA (L.  c.) 

CHARITABLE  Institutions,  however  originally  well  intended 
and  well  executed  at  first  for  many  Years,  are  subject  to  be 
hi  a  Course  of  time  corrupted,  mismanag'd,  their  Funds 
misapplied  or  perverted  to  private  purposes.  Would  it  not 
be  well  to  guard  against  these  by  prudent  Regulations  respect- 
ing the  Choice  of  Managers,  and  establishing  the  Power  of 
inspecting  their  Conduct  in  some  permanent  Body,  as  the 
Monthly  or  Quarterly  Meeting? 

Would  it  not  be  more  respectable  for  the  Institution,  if  the 
Appearance  of  making  a  Profit  of  the  Labour  of  Orphans 
were  avoided,  and  the  Dependence  for  Funds  to  be  wholly 
on  charitable  Contributions?  If  this  should  be  concluded, 
then  it  may  be  proper  to  open  an  Account  with  each  Orphan 


on  Admission ;  the  Orphans  to  have  Credit  for  any  Subsist- 
ence brought  in  with  them,  and  for  the  Profit  made  of  it 
and  of  their  Labour,  and  made  Debtors  for  their  Maintenance 
and  Education.  And  at  their  Discharge  on  coming  of  Age, 
to  be  paid  the  Ballance,  if  any,  in  their  favour,  or  remain 
Debtors  for  the  ballance,  if  against  them,  which  they  may  be 
exhorted  to  pay,  if  ever  able,  but  not  to  be  compell'd.  Such 
as  receive  a  Ballance  may  be  exhorted  to  give  back  a  Part  in 
Charity  to  the  Institution  that  has  taken  such  kind  Care  of 
them,  or  at  least  to  remember  it  favourably,  if  hereafter  God 
should  bless  them  with  Ability,  either  in  Benefaction  while 
living,  or  a  Legacy  on  Decease.  The  Orphans,  when  dis- 
charg'd,  to  receive,  besides  decent  Clothing  and  some  Money, 
a  Certificate  of  their  good  Behaviour,  if  such  it  has  been,  as 
a  Recommendation;  and  the  Managers  of  the  Institution 
should  still  consider  them  as  their  Children,  so  far  as  to  coun- 
sel them  in  their  Affairs,  encourage  and  promote  them  in  their 
Business,  watch  over  and  kindly  admonish  them  when  in 
danger  of  Misconduct. 

1804.    PLAN 


THE  business  relative  to  free  blacks  shall  be  transacted  by 
a  committee  of  twenty -four  persons,  annually  elected  by  ballot, 
at  the  meeting  of  this  Society,1  in  the  month  called  April; 
and,  in  order  to  perform  the  different  services  with  expedition, 

1  The  Society  for  promoting  the  Abolition  of  Slavery  and  the  Relief  of 
Free  Blacks.— ED. 


regularity,  and  energy,  this  committee  shall  resolve  itself  into 
the  following  sub-committees,  viz. 

I.  A  Committee  of  Inspection,  who  shall  superintend  the 
morals,  general  conduct,  and  ordinary  situation  of  the  free 
negroes,  and  afford  them  advice  and  instruction,  protection 
from  wrongs,  and  other  friendly  offices. 

II.  A  Committee  of  Guardians,  who  shall  place  out  chil- 
dren and  young  people  with  suitable  persons,  that  they  may 
(during  a  moderate  time  of  apprenticeship   or  servitude) 
learn  some  trade  or  other  business  of  subsistence.    The 
committee  may  effect  this  partly  by  a  persuasive  influence  on 
parents  and  the  persons  concerned,  and  partly  by  cooperating 
with  the  laws,  which  are,  or  may  be,  enacted  for  this  and 
similar  purposes.     In  forming  contracts  on  these  occasions, 
the  committee  shall  secure  to  the  Society,  as  far  as  may  be 
practicable,  the  right  of  guardianship  over  the  persons  so 

III.  A  Committee  of  Education,  who  shall  superintend  the 
school  instruction  of  the  children  and  youth  of  the  free  blacks. 
They  may  either  influence  them  to  attend  regularly  the  schools 
already  established  in  this  city,  or  form  others  with  this 
view ;  they  shall,  in  either  case,  provide,  that  the  pupils  may 
receive  such  learning  as  is  necessary  for  their  future  situation 
in  life,  and  especially  a  deep  impression  of  the  most  important 
and  generally  acknowledged  moral  and  religious  principles. 
They  shall  also  procure  and  preserve  a  regular  record  of  the 
marriages,  births,  and  manumissions  of  all  free  blacks. 

IV.  A  Committee  of  Employ,  who  shall  endeavour  to 
procure  constant  employment  for  those  free  negroes  who  are 
able  to  work;   as  the  want  of  this  would  occasion  poverty, 
idleness,  and  many  vicious  habits.    This  committee   will, 


by  sedulous  inquiry,  be  enabled  to  find  common  labour  for  a 
great  number;  they  will  also  provide,  that  such  as  indicate 
proper  talents  may  learn  various  trades,  which  may  be  done 
by  prevailing  upon  them  to  bind  themselves  for  such  a  term 
of  years  as  shall  compensate  their  masters  for  the  expense  and 
trouble  of  instruction  and  maintenance.  The  committee 
may  attempt  the  institution  of  some  useful  and  simple  manu- 
factures, which  require  but  little  skill,  and  also  may  assist, 
in  commencing  business,  such  as  appear  to  be  qualified  for  it. 

Whenever  the  committee  of  inspection  shall  find  persons 
of  any  particular  description  requiring  attention,  they  shall 
immediately  direct  them  to  the  committee  of  whose  care  they 
are  the  proper  objects. 

In  matters  of  a  mixed  nature,  the  committees  shall  confer, 
and,  if  necessary,  act  in  concert.  Affairs  of  great  importance 
shall  be  referred  to  the  whole  committee. 

The  expense,  incurred  by  the  prosecution  of  this  plan,  shall 
be  defrayed  by  a  fund,  to  be  formed  by  donations  or  sub- 
scriptions for  these  particular  purposes,  and  to  be  kept 
separate  from  the  other  funds  of  this  Society. 

The  committee  shall  make  a  report  of  their  proceedings, 
and  of  the  state  of  their  stock,  to  the  Society,  at  their  quarterly 
meetings,  in  the  months  called  April  and  October. 

VOL.  X  —  K 



DECLARATION  of  those  RIGHTS  of  the  Commonalty  of  Great 
Britain,  "without  which  they  cannot  be  FREE. 
It  is  declared, 

First,  That  the  government  of  this  realm,  and  the  making 
of  laws  for  the  same,  ought  to  be  lodged  in  the  hands  of  King, 
Lords  of  Parliament,  and  Representatives  of  the  whole  body 
of  the  freemen  of  this  realm. 

Secondly,  That  every  man  of  the  commonalty  (excepting 
infants,  insane  persons,  and  criminals)  is,  of  common  right, 
and  by  the  laws  of  God,  a  freeman,  and  entitled  to  the  free 
enjoyment  of  liberty. 

Thirdly,  That  liberty,  or  freedom,  consists  in  having  an 
actual  share  in  the  appointment  of  those  who  frame  the  laws, 
and  who  are  to  be  the  guardians  of  every  man's  life,  property, 
and  peace ;  for  the  all  of  one  man  is  as  dear  to  him  as  the  all 
of  another;  and  the  poor  man  has  an  equal  right,  but  more 
need,  to  have  representatives  hi  the  legislature  than  the  rich 

Fourthly,  That  they  who  have  no  voice  nor  vote  in  the 
electing  of  representatives,  do  not  enjoy  liberty ;  but  are  abso- 
lutely enslaved  to  those  who  have  votes,  and  to  their  repre- 
sentatives; for  to  be  enslaved  is  to  have  governors  whom 
other  men  have  set  over  us,  and  be  subject  to  laws  made  by 
the  representatives  of  others,  without  having  had  representatives 
of  our  own  to  give  consent  in  our  behalf. 

Fifthly,  That  a  very  great  majority  of  the  commonalty  of 

1  A  printed  paper,  of  which  the  following  is  a  copy,  was  found  among  Dr. 
Franklin's  papers,  endorsed  by  him  as  above.  —  W.  T.  F. 


this  realm  are  denied  the  privilege  of  voting  for  representatives 
in  Parliament;  and,  consequently,  they  are  enslaved  to  a 
small  number,  who  do  now  enjoy  the  privilege  exclusively  to 
themselves ;  but  who,  it  may  be  presumed,  are  far  from  wish- 
ing to  continue  in  the  exclusive  possession  of  a  privilege,  by 
which  their  fellow-subjects  are  deprived  of  common  right, 
of  justice,  of  liberty;  and  which,  if  not  communicated  to  all, 
must  speedily  cause  the  certain  overthrow  of  our  happy  con- 
stitution, and  enslave  us  all. 

And,  sixthly  and  lastly,  We  also  say  and  do  assert,  that  it 
is  the  right  of  the  commonalty  of  this  realm  to  elect  a  new 
House  of  Commons  once  in  every  year,  according  to  the 
ancient  and  sacred  laws  of  the  land;  because,  whenever  a 
Parliament  continues  in  being  for  a  longer  term,  very  great 
numbers  of  the  commonalty,  who  have  arrived  at  years  of 
manhood  since  the  last  election,  and  therefore  have  a  right  to 
be  actually  represented  in  the  House  of  Commons,  are  then 
unjustly  deprived  of  that  right. 



As  a  great  part  of  our  life  is  spent  in  sleep  during  which 
we  have  sometimes  pleasant  and  sometimes  painful  dreams, 

1  Sparks  printed  this  bagatelle  and  assigned  it  conjecturally  to  the  year 
1772.  Bigelow  followed  his  example.  While  this  volume  was  in  the  press, 
I  found  the  following  letter  to  Franklin  from  Miss  Shipley  (A.  P.  S.)  which 
determines  the  date. 

"  Chilbolton,  Nov  13*  1786. 

"...  I  have  particularly  to  thank  you  for  "  The  art  of  procuring  pleasant 


it  becomes  of  some  consequence  to  obtain  the  one  kind  and 
avoid  the  other ;  for  whether  real  or  imaginary,  pain  is  pain 
and  pleasure  is  pleasure.  If  we  can  sleep  without  dreaming, 
it  is  well  that  painful  dreams  are  avoided.  If  while  we  sleep 
we  can  have  any  pleasing  dream,  it  is,  as  the  French  say, 
autant  de  gagne,  so  much  added  to  the  pleasure  of  life. 

To  this  end  it  is,  in  the  first  place,  necessary  to  be  careful 
in  preserving  health,  by  due  exercise  and  great  temperance; 
for,  in  sickness,  the  imagination  is  disturbed,  and  disagree- 
able, sometimes  terrible,  ideas  are  apt  to  present  themselves. 
Exercise  should  precede  meals,  not  immediately  follow  them ; 
the  first  promotes,  the  latter,  unless  moderate,  obstructs 
digestion.  If,  after  exercise,  we  feed  sparingly,  the  digestion 
will  be  easy  and  good,  the  body  lightsome,  the  temper  cheer- 
ful, and  all  the  animal  functions  performed  agreeably. 
Sleep,  when  it  follows,  will  be  natural  and  undisturbed; 
while  indolence,  with  full  feeding,  occasions  nightmares  and 
horrors  inexpressible;  we  fall  from  precipices,  are  assaulted 
by  wild  beasts,  murderers,  and  demons,  and  experience  every 
variety  of  distress.  Observe,  however,  that  the  quantities  of 
food  and  exercise  are  relative  things ;  those  who  move  much 
may,  and  indeed  ought  to  eat  more;  those  who  use  little 
exercise  should  eat  little.  In  general,  mankind,  since  the 
improvement  of  cookery,  eat  about  twice  as  much  as  nature 

Dreams,"  indeed  it  flatter'd  me  exceedingly  that  you  should  employ  so  much 
of  your  precious  time  in  complying  with  my  request,  but  where  do  you  read 
that  Methusalah  slept  in  the  open  air?  I  have  searched  the  Bible  in  vain  to 
find  it.  ... 

"  Affectionately  yours, 

"C.  L.  SHIPLEY." 

Allowing  for  delay  in  crossing  the  ocean,  and  perhaps  some  delay  in  Miss 
Shipley's  acknowledgment  of  the  Ms.,  it  would  seem  safe  to  assign  the  writing 
of  this  bagatelle  to  the  summer  of  1786.  —  ED. 


requires.  Suppers  are  not  bad,  if  we  have  not  dined;  but 
restless  nights  naturally  follow  hearty  suppers  after  full 
dinners.  Indeed,  as  there  is  a  difference  in  constitutions, 
some  rest  well  after  these  meals ;  it  costs  them  only  a  fright- 
ful dream  and  an  apoplexy,  after  which  they  sleep  till  dooms- 
day. Nothing  is  more  common  in  the  newspapers,  than 
instances  of  people  who,  after  eating  a  hearty  supper,  are 
found  dead  abed  in  the  morning. 

Another  means  of  preserving  health,  to  be  attended  to,  is 
the  having  a  constant  supply  of  fresh  air  in  your  bed-chamber. 
It  has  been  a  great  mistake,  the  sleeping  in  rooms  exactly 
closed,  and  in  beds  surrounded  by  curtains.  No  outward 
air  that  may  come  in  to  you  is  so  unwholesome  as  the  un- 
changed air,  often  breathed,  of  a  close  chamber.  As  boiling 
water  does  not  grow  hotter  by  longer  boiling,  if  the  particles 
that  receive  greater  heat  can  escape ;  so  living  bodies  do  not 
putrefy,  if  the  particles,  so  fast  as  they  become  putrid,  can 
be  thrown  off.  Nature  expels  them  by  the  pores  of  the  skin 
and  the  lungs,  and  in  a  free,  open  air  they  are  carried  off; 
but  in  a  close  room  we  receive  them  again  and  again,  though 
they  become  more  and  more  corrupt.  A  number  of  persons 
crowded  into  a  small  room  thus  spoil  the  air  in  a  few  minutes, 
and  even  render  it  mortal,  as  in  the  Black  Hole  at  Calcutta. 
A  single  person  is  said  to  spoil  only  a  gallon  of  air  per  minute, 
and  therefore  requires  a  longer  time  to  spoil  a  chamber-full ; 
but  it  is  done,  however,  in  proportion,  and  many  putrid  dis- 
orders hence  have  their  origin.  It  is  recorded  of  Methusalem, 
who,  being  the  longest  liver,  may  be  supposed  to  have  best 
preserved  his  health,  that  he  slept  always  in  the  open  air; 
for,  when  he  had  lived  five  hundred  years,  an  angel  said  to 
him;  "Arise,  Methusalem,  and  build  thee  an  house,  for 


thou  shalt  live  yet  five  hundred  years  longer."  But  Methu- 
salem  answered,  and  said,  "  If  I  am  to  live  but  five  hundred 
years  longer,  it  is  not  worth  while  to  build  me  an  house;  I 
will  sleep  in  the  air,  as  I  have  been  used  to  do."  Physicians, 
after  having  for  ages  contended  that  the  sick  should  not  be 
indulged  with  fresh  air,  have  at  length  discovered  that  it 
may  do  them  good.  It  is  therefore  to  be  hoped,  that  they 
may  in  time  discover  likewise,  that  it  is  not  hurtful  to  those 
who  are  in  health,  and  that  we  may  be  then  cured  of  the 
aerophobia,  that  at  present  distresses  weak  minds,  and  makes 
them  choose  to  be  stifled  and  poisoned,  rather  than  leave 
open  the  window  of  a  bed-chamber,  or  put  down  the  glass 
of  a  coach. 

Confined  air,  when  saturated  with  perspirable  matter,  will 
not  receive  more ;  and  that  matter  must  remain  in  our  bodies, 
and  occasion  diseases;  but  it  gives  some  previous  notice  of 
its  being  about  to  be  hurtful,  by  producing  certain  uneasiness, 
slight  indeed  at  first,  which  as  with  regard  to  the  lungs  is  a 
trifling  sensation,  and  to  the  pores  of  the  skin  a  kind  of 
restlessness,  which  is  difficult  to  describe,  and  few  that  feel 
it  know  the  cause  of  it.  But  we  may  recollect,  that  some- 
tunes  on  waking  in  the  night,  we  have,  if  warmly  covered, 
found  it  difficult  to  get  asleep  again.  We  turn  often  with- 
out finding  repose  in  any  position.  This  fidgettiness  (to 
use  a  vulgar  expression  for  want  of  a  better)  is  occasioned 
wholly  by  an  uneasiness  in  the  skin,  owing  to  the  retention 
of  the  perspirable  matter  —  the  bed-clothes  having  received 
their  quantity,  and,  being  saturated,  refusing  to  take  any 
more.  To  become  sensible  of  this  by  an  experiment,  let  a 
person  keep  his  position  in  the  bed,  but  throw  off  the  bed- 
clothes, and  suffer  fresh  air  to  approach  the  part  uncovered 


of  his  body ;  he  will  then  feel  that  part  suddenly  refreshed ; 
for  the  air  will  immediately  relieve  the  skin,  by  receiving, 
licking  up,  and  carrying  off,  the  load  of  perspirable  matter 
that  incommoded  it.  For  every  portion  of  cool  air  that  ap- 
proaches the  warm  skin,  in  receiving  its  part  of  that  vapour, 
receives  therewith  a  degree  of  heat  that  rarefies  and  renders 
it  lighter,  when  it  will  be  pushed  away  with  its  burthen,  by 
cooler  and  therefore  heavier  fresh  air,  which  for  a  moment 
supplies  its  place,  and  then,  being  likewise  changed  and 
warmed,  gives  way  to  a  succeeding  quantity.  This  is  the 
order  of  nature,  to  prevent  animals  being  infected  by  their 
own  perspiration.  He  will  now  be  sensible  of  the  difference 
between  the  part  exposed  to  the  air  and  that  which,  remain- 
ing sunk  in  the  bed,  denies  the  air  access :  for  this  part  now 
manifests  its  uneasiness  more  distinctly  by  the  comparison, 
and  the  seat  of  the  uneasiness  is  more  plainly  perceived  than 
when  the  whole  surface  of  the  body  was  affected  by  it. 

Here,  then,  is  one  great  and  general  cause  of  unpleasing 
dreams.  For  when  the  body  is  uneasy,  the  mind  will  be 
disturbed  by  it,  and  disagreeable  ideas  of  various  kinds  will 
in  sleep  be  the  natural  consequences.  The  remedies,  pre- 
ventive and  curative,  follow: 

1.  By  eating  moderately  (as  before  advised  for  health's 
sake)  less  perspirable  matter  is  produced  in  a  given  time; 
hence  the  bed-clothes  receive  it  longer  before  they  are  satu- 
rated, and  we  may  therefore  sleep  longer  before  we  are  made 
uneasy  by  their  refusing  to  receive  any  more. 

2.  By  using  thinner  and  more  porous  bed-clothes,  which 
will  suffer  the  perspirable  matter  more  easily  to  pass  through 
them,  we  are  less  incommoded,  such  being  longer  tolerable. 

3.  When  you  are  awakened  by  this  uneasiness,  and  find 


you  cannot  easily  sleep  again,  get  out  of  bed,  beat  up  and 
turn  your  pillow,  shake  the  bed-clothes  well,  with  at  least 
twenty  shakes,  then  throw  the  bed  open  and  leave  it  to  cool ; 
in  the  meanwhile,  continuing  undrest,  walk  about  your 
chamber  till  your  skin  has  had  tune  to  discharge  its  load, 
which  it  will  do  sooner  as  the  air  may  be  dried  and  colder. 
When  you  begin  to  feel  the  cold  air  unpleasant,  then  return 
to  your  bed,  and  you  will  soon  fall  asleep,  and  your  sleep 
will  be  sweet  and  pleasant.  All  the  scenes  presented  to  your 
fancy  will  be  too  of  the  pleasing  kind.  I  am  often  as  agree- 
ably entertained  with  them,  as  by  the  scenery  of  an  opera. 
If  you  happen  to  be  too  indolent  to  get  out  of  bed,  you  may, 
instead  of  it,  lift  up  your  bed-clothes  with  one  arm  and  leg, 
so  as  to  draw  in  a  good  deal  of  fresh  air,  and  by  letting  them 
fall  force  it  out  again.  This,  repeated  twenty  times,  will  so 
clear  them  of  the  perspirable  matter  they  have  imbibed,  as 
to  permit  your  sleeping  well  for  some  time  afterwards.  But 
this  latter  method  is  not  equal  to  the  former. 

Those  who  do  not  love  trouble,  and  can  afford  to  have  two 
beds,  will  find  great  luxury  in  rising,  when  they  wake  in  a  hot 
bed,  and  going  into  the  cool  one.  Such  shifting  of  beds 
would  also  be  of  great  service  to  persons  ill  of  a  fever,  as  it 
refreshes  and  frequently  procures  sleep.  A  very  large  bed, 
that  will  admit  a  removal  so  distant  from  the  first  situation 
as  to  be  cool  and  sweet,  may  in  a  degree  answer  the  same 

One  or  two  observations  more  will  conclude  this  little 
piece.  Care  must  be  taken,  when  you  lie  down,  to  dispose 
your  pillow  so  as  to  suit  your  manner  of  placing  your  head, 
and  to  be  perfectly  easy ;  then  place  your  limbs  so  as  not  to 
bear  inconveniently  hard  upon  one  another,  as,  for  instance, 


the  joints  of  your  ankles ;  for,  though  a  bad  position  may  at 
first  give  but  little  pain  and  be  hardly  noticed,  yet  a  con- 
tinuance will  render  it  less  tolerable,  and  the  uneasiness  may 
come  on  while  you  are  asleep,  and  disturb  your  imagina- 
tion. These  are  the  rules  of  the  art.  But,  though  they  will 
generally  prove  effectual  in  producing  the  end  intended,  there 
is  a  case  in  which  the  most  punctual  observance  of  them  will 
be  totally  fruitless.  I  need  not  mention  the  case  to  you,  my 
dear  friend,  but  my  account  of  the  art  would  be  imperfect 
without  it.  The  case  is,  when  the  person  who  desires  to  have 
pleasant  dreams  has  not  taken  care  to  preserve,  what  is 
necessary  above  all  things, 


"As  there  is  scarce  any  kind  of  Civil  Knowledge  more  necessary  or  profit- 
able than  History  ;  (which  is  therefore  very  aptly  stiled  by  the  Ancients, 
The  Mistress  of  Life,)  so  of  all  sorts  of  History  there  is  none  so  useful  as  that 
which  unlocking  the  Cabinet,  brings  forth  the  Letters,  private  Instructions, 
Consultations  and  Negotiations  of  Ministers  of  State  ;  for  then  we  see  things 
in  a  clear  light,  stript  of  all  their  paints  and  disguisings,  and  discover  those 
hidden  Springs  of  Affairs,  which  give  motion  to  all  the  vast  Machines  and 
stupendous  Revolutions  of  Princes  and  Kingdoms,  that  make  such  a  noise 
on  the  Theatre  of  the  World,  and  amaze  us  with  unexpected  shiftings  of 
Scenes  and  daily  Vicissitudes." —  The  Memoir es  of  Sir  James  Melvil,  1683. 



AT  a  certain  exhibition  of  historical  portraits  Thomas 
Carlyle,  it  is  said,  was  seen  absorbed  in  the  contemplation  of 
a  picture  of  Benjamin  Franklin.  A  group  of  spectators,  at- 
tracted by  curiosity,  gathered  about  him,  to  whom  the  sage  of 
Chelsea  said,  as  he  pointed  to  the  portrait:  "There  is  the 
father  of  all  the  Yankees." 

It  would  seem  that  Carlyle  expressed  the  sentiment  and 
opinion  of  mankind;  for  at  the  present  time,  two  hundred 
years  after  the  birth  of  Franklin,  the  world  has  united  in 
spontaneous  and  splendid  celebration  of  his  vast  achieve- 
ments and  matchless  public  service. 

His  history  is  the  story  of  a  struggle ;  it  is  the  record  of  a 
life  that  began  in  humble  surroundings  and  ended  in  splen- 
dour ;  it  contains,  therefore,  the  substance  of  the  tales  that  have 
chiefly  interested  the  world.  The  story  is  universally  known, 
for  his  autobiography  is  the  most  famous  work  of  the  kind  in 
the  English  language.  Every  one  is  familiar  with  the  inci- 
dents of  his  flight  from  Boston  —  fugitive  from  the  fist  of  a 
choleric  brother  —  how  he  was  nearly  drowned  in  New  York 
Bay,  how  he  walked  from  Perth  Amboy  to  Burlington,  fifty 
miles  through  ever-during  rain,  how  he  took  boat  at  Bur- 
lington upon  an  October  afternoon,  and  landed  at  the  foot 
of  Market  Street  in  Philadelphia  upon  the  following  Sunday 
morning,  how  he  walked  the  quiet  streets  of  the  sober  city, 



—  a  ridiculous  figure,  munching  a  roll,  —  how  he  found  shelter 
the  first  night  in  the  strange  city  at  the  old  Crooked  Billet  hi 
Water  Street.  The  strange  mutations  of  lif  e !  This  vagrant, 
adventurous  lad,  ragged,  travel-stained,  awkward,  with  shirts 
and  stockings  in  his  pockets  and  a  Dutch  dollar  his  whole 
stock  of  cash  —  this  humble  soap-boiler's  son  —  was  destined 
to  become  the  most  conspicuous  and  admired  figure  of  two 
continents,  to  stand  before  kings,  to  converse  with  scholars, 
and  to  receive  every  honour  that  the  most  venerable  academies 
of  learning  could  bestow, — 

"  And  moving  up  from  high  to  higher 
Become  on  Fortune's  crowning  slope 
The  pillar  of  a  people's  hope, 
The  centre  of  a  world's  desire." 

His  life  covers  so  completely  the  occurrences  of  the  eigh- 
teenth century,  and  comprehends  so  entirely  its  scientific  and 
political  progress  that  it  seems  impossible  to  confine  the 
narrative  within  reasonable  and  readable  limits.  Fortunately 
it  is  unnecessary  to  encroach  upon  the  province  of  the  "Auto- 
biography." There  the  story  of  his  life  is  told,  until  the  year 
1757,  with  admirable  truthfulness  and  thoroughness,  in 
Franklin's  inimitably  easy  and  vivid  way.  Beyond  that 
epoch  many  biographers  have  essayed  to  complete  the  narra- 
tive, but  much  yet  remains  to  be  done. 

I  purpose,  in  as  few  words  as  possible,  to  review  the  events 
of  his  early  life,  and  to  try  to  complete  from  his  literary 
remains  and  the  discoveries  of  recent  research  the  history  of 
one  who  lived  long  and  variously  in  the  world,  and  whose  life 
is  the  most  picturesque  and  profitable  that  has  yet  been  lived 
hi  America. 

Franklin  was  greatly  interested  in  his  family  history.  It 
was  not  his  way  to  value  a  man  for  his  antecedents,  but  he 


knew  the  worth  of  genealogy,  and  he  visited  all  the  places  where 
his  ancestors  had  lived,  and  he  traced  his  lineage  with  much 
time  and  care.  He  even  adopted  the  family  coat  of  arms  — 
two  lions'  heads,  two  doves,  and  a  dolphin  —  and  with  a 
decent  sense  of  propriety  in  such  a  case  he  permitted  his 
brother  John  to  use  it  as  a  book  plate,  but  he  would  not  allow 
it  to  be  put  upon  the  cakes  of  crown  soap  by  the  making  of 
which  the  family  turned  an  honest  penny. 

When  a  person  in  Konigsberg,  Anna  Sophia  Susanna 
de  Bohlen,  ne'e  Franklin,  wrote  to  him  to  claim  relationship, 
saying  that  her  father,  who  had  taken  service  in  the  Prussian 
army,  was  the  eldest  son  of  John  Franklin,  born  at  Wood- 
house  near  Abingdon,  Franklin  replied  that  he  had  exact 
accounts  of  every  person  of  his  family  from  1555;  and  cour- 
teously added,  "It  would  be  a  pleasure  to  me  to  discover  a 
relation  in  Europe  possessing  the  amiable  sentiments  ex- 
pressed in  your  letter,  I  assure  you  I  should  not  disown 
the  meanest." l  His  notes  upon  the  family  history  from 
1555  to  his  own  generation,  together  with  his  abstracts  of 
church  records  and  a  pedigree  chart  of  his  own  making 
have  recently  come  into  the  possession  of  the  Pennsylvania 
Historical  Society.2 

He  acquired  his  information  in  the  summer  of  1758  when, 
after  attending  the  Commencement  ceremonies  at  Cambridge, 
he  visited  Wellingborough  where  he  found  his  cousin  Mary 
Fisher — the  wife  of  Richard  Fisher,8  a  grazier  and  tanner,  — 

1  To  Madame  de  Bohlen,  November  21,  1781. 

a  See  "  Franklin  as  a  genealogist,"  by  John  W.  Jordan,  in  The  Pennsylvania 
Magazine  of  History  and  Biography,  April,  1899. 

8  The  Lenox  Library  has  a  letter  from  Benjamin  Franklin  (uncle)  to 
R.  Fisher,  Wellingborough,  Northamptonshire,  dated  "Boston,  17  March, 
1724,"  notifying  him  that  about  the  1 5th  of  November  he  had  sent  him  a 
package  of  books  by  his  nephew,  Captain  Dowse,  "  my  brother's  son-in-law." 


the  only  child  of  Thomas  Franklin,  his  father's  eldest  brother. 
She  was  then  past  four  score  years  and  could  recall  the  depar- 
ture of  his  father  with  his  wife  and  children  for  America 

The  ancestral  home  of  the  Franklins  was  at  Ecton  in 
Northamptonshire,  three  miles  from  Wellingborough.  For 
two  hundred  years  of  authentic  record,  and  probably  for 
many  forgotten  generations  of  which  the  church  registers 
know  nothing,  the  Franklins  had  lived  upon  their  little 
patrimonial  plot  of  thirty  freehold  acres  and  practised  the  art 
of  agriculture  and  the  craft  of  blacksmithing.  They  were 
plain,  sturdy,  liberty-loving  people  who  shod  horses,  and 
mended  and  greased  coach  wheels.  Stern  livers  were  they 
all :  fearing  God  and  fearless  of  man.  Mary  Fisher  wrote  to 
Franklin  that  though  the  family  "never  made  any  great 
Figure  in  this  County,  yet  it  did  what  was  much  better,  it 
acted  that  Part  well  in  which  Providence  had  placed  it  and 
for  200  Years  all  the  Descendants  of  it  have  lived  with  Credit, 
and  are  to  this  Day  without  any  Blot  on  their  Escutcheon."  * 
Carlyle  sent  to  Edward  Everett  "a  strange  old  brown  manu- 
script," a  tithes-book  of  the  parish  of  Ecton,  in  which  are 
many  notices  of  pecuniary  transactions  in  which  the  Franklins 
were  concerned.  "Here  they  are,"  says  Carlyle,  "their 
forge-hammers  yet  going  —  renting  so  many  'yard  lands'  of 
Northamptonshire  church-soil  —  keeping  so  many  sheep, 
etc.,  etc.,  —  little  conscious  that  one  of  the  demigods  was  about 
to  proceed  out  of  them.  I  flatter  myself  these  old  plaster-cast 
representations  of  the  very  form  and  pressure  of  the  primeval 
(or  at  least  prior-evaT)  Franklins  will  be  interesting  in  America ; 
there  is  the  very  stamp,  as  it  were,  of  the  black  knuckles,  of 

1  Mary  Fisher  to  Franklin,  August  14,  1758. 


their  hob-nailed  shoes,  strongly  preserved  to  us,  in  hardened 
clay,  and  now  indestructible,  if  we  take  care  of  it."  1 

From  the  Register  of  Ecton  Church  Franklin  found  "that 
our  poor  honest  Family  were  Inhabitants  of  that  Village  near 
200  Years,  as  early  as  the  Register  begins."  And  from  the 
same  source,  and  from  the  gravestones  from  which  he  rubbed 
the  obscuring  moss,  he  learned,  as  he  told  his  cousin,  "that 
I  am  the  youngest  Son  of  the  youngest  Son  of  the  youngest  Son 
of  the  youngest  Son  for  five  Generations ;  whereby  I  find  that 
had  there  originally  been  any  Estate  in  the  Family  none  could 
have  stood  a  worse  Chance  of  it."  2 

At  Ecton  he  heard  the  chimes  play  that  had  been  erected 
by  his  uncle,  Thomas  Franklin,  in  the  steeple  of  the  parish 
church.  He  was  diverted  with  stories  of  his  uncle's  ingenuity. 
It  was  said  that  he  had  found  out  an  easy  method  of  saving 
their  village  meadows  from  being  drowned,  as  they  used  to  be 
by  the  river,  "which  method  is  still  in  being,  but  when  first 
proposed  nobody  could  conceive  how  it  could  be ;  '  but  how- 
ever,' they  said,  'if  Franklin  says  he  knows  how  to  do  it,  it 
will  be  done.'"  This  man  who  was  looked  upon  "as  some- 
thing of  a  conjuror"  died  four  years  to  a  day  before  Franklin 
was  born.  "If  Uncle  Thomas  had  died,"  said  William 
Franklin,  "on  the  day  of  my  father's  birth  one  might  have 
supposed  a  transmigration." 

1  The  book  was  deposited  by  Edward  Everett  in  the  library  of  the  Massa- 
chusetts Historical  Society.  Ecton  was  twelve  miles  from  Sulgrave,  the  home 
of  the  Washingtons.  The  pink-coated  huntsmen  of  the  Washington  family 
may  often  have  stopped  in  Ecton  to  have  their  horses  shod  by  the  leather- 
aproned  Franklins  at  the  forge. 

a  To  Mary  Fisher,  July  31,  1758. 

Franklin  acknowledged  the  courtesy  of  the  Rev.  Eyre  Whalley,  rector  of 
the  parish,  and  his  wife  who  was  a  granddaughter  of  the  famous  Archdeacon 
Palmer,  in  helping  him  to  a  knowledge  of  his  family  history. 
VOL.  x  —  L 


Three  of  the  brothers  of  this  Thomas  Franklin  —  John, 
Benjamin,  and  Josiah  —  removed  from  Ecton  to  Banbury 
and  established  themselves  in  the  trade  of  dyers.  Thomas 
Franklin,  their  father,  in  his  old  age  followed  his  sons  thither, 
and  died  there.  Franklin  found  his  gravestone  in  Banbury 
churchyard  expressing  that  he  was  buried  there,  March  24, 

Josiah  Franklin  emigrated  from  Banbury  to  Boston  in  1685 
with  Ann,  his  wife,  and  three  children,  and  finding  little  en- 
couragement to  pursue  his  trade  as  a  dyer,  he  set  up  in 
business  as  a  tallow-chandler  and  soap-boiler  at  the  sign  of 
the  Blue  Ball.  Four  more  children  were  born  to  him  in 
four  years  in  New  England.  His  wife  died  in  childbed 
in  1689,  and  he  married  six  months  later  his  second 
wife  Abiah  Folger,  youngest  daughter  of  Peter  Folger,  one 
of  the  first  settlers  of  Nantucket.  Benjamin  was  the  tenth 
and  youngest  son  in  a  family  of  seventeen  children.  He 
was  born  Sunday,  January  6  (old  style),  1706.  Although 
he  celebrated  his  birthday  in  later  years  upon  the  i7th 
of  January,  he  never  ceased  to  feel,  as  he  said,  "some 
regard  for  this  sixth  of  January,  as  my  old  nominal  birth- 
day." *  The  family  home  was  then  in  Milk  Street,  a  few 
steps  from  the  door  of  Old  South  Church,  and  the  child 
was  carried  over  upon  the  day  of  its  birth  and  baptized  by 
Samuel  Willard,  pastor  of  the  church  and  president  of  Har- 
vard College. 

Benjamin  Franklin,  the  child's  uncle,  lonely  and  unfortu- 
nate, sent  across  the  ocean  occasional  attempts  at  verse 
which  were  addressed  to  his  little  namesake  and  were  read 
aloud  in  the  family  circle.  The  child  replied  in  kind.  Where- 

1  To  Deborah  Franklin,  January  6,  1773. 


upon  Uncle  Benjamin,  delighted  at  this  infantile  lisping  in 
numbers,  wrote:  — 

"  Tis  time  for  me  to  throw  aside  my  pen, 
When  hanging  sleeves  read,  write,  and  rhyme  like  men, 
This  forward  spring  foretells  a  plenteous  crop  ; 
For,  if  the  bud  bear  grain,  what  will  the  top  ! 
If  plenty  in  the  verdant  blade  appear, 
What  may  we  not  soon  hope  for  in  the  ear  ! 
When  flowers  are  beautiful  before  they're  blown, 
What  rarities  will  afterward  be  shown. 
If  trees  good  fruit  un'noculated  bear, 
You  may  be  sure  'twill  afterward  be  rare. 
If  fruits  are  sweet  before  they've  time  to  yellow, 
How  luscious  will  they  be  when  they  are  mellow  ! 
If  first  years'  shoots  such  noble  clusters  send, 
What  laden  boughs,  Engedi-likc,  may  we  expect  in  the  end." 1 

A  year  at  Boston  Grammar  School,  and  a  year  under  a  writ- 
ing master,  Mr.  George  Brownell,2  and  Franklin's  school  days 
were  over  forever.  At  ten  years  old  he  was  taken  to  help  his 
father  in  his  business.  He  remembered  the  benefits  of  his 
brief  connection  with  the  free  grammar  schools  of  Boston,  and 
in  his  will  acknowledged  that  he  owed  his  first  instructions 
in  literature  to  them,  and  bequeathed  to  their  managers  or 
directors  one  hundred  pounds  sterling,  the  interest  of  which 
annually  was  to  be  laid  out  in  silver  medals  and  given  as  hon- 
orary rewards.  Probably  the  love  of  books  was  with  him 

1  These  lines  were  written  in  1713.    The  elder  Benjamin  Franklin  came 
over  to  New  England  and  settled  in  Dr.  Coleman's  church  in  Boston.     Dr. 
Coleman  preached  his  funeral  sermon  from  the  text  "  Mark  the  perfect  man." 
Josiah  Franklin  was  a  member  of  the  Rev.  Dr.  Sewall's  church.      He  died  De- 
cember I,  1 744,  set.  89.     His  wife  died  1752,  set.  85.     See  "  The  Literary  Diary 
of  Ezra  Stiles,"  by  F.  B.  Dexter,  N.Y.,  1901,  Vol.  II,  p.  375,  for  reminiscences 
of  Jane  Mecom  (nee  Franklin). 

2  "  Advertisements.    At  the  House  of  George  Brownell  in  Second  Street, 
(formerly  the  House  of  Mr.  John  Knight,  deceas'd)  is  taught,  Reading,  Writ- 
ing, Cyphering,  Dancing,  Plain-work,  Marking,  with  Variety  of  Needle-work. 
Where  also  Scholars  may  board."     From  The  Pennsylvania  Gazette. 


before  he  went  to  his  first  school,  for  he  says  that  his  readiness 
in  learning  to  read  must  have  been  very  early  "as  I  do  not 
remember  when  I  could  not  read."  His  sister  speaks  of  him 
as  a  Bible  reader  at  five  years  old.  When  still  very  young 
reading  was  a  confirmed  habit  which  soon  became  a  passion. 
He  devoured  the  dull  and  profitless  contents  of  his  father's 
little  library  of  polemic  divinity.  Not  even  the  "dusty  death  " 
of  this  collection  could  kill  his  love  of  books.  Among  the 
ministerial  folios  was  a  copy  of  Plutarch's  Lives,  which  he 
read  with  delight,  and  Defoe's  "Essay  on  Projects,"  and 
Mather's  "  Essays  to  do  Good."  A  few  years  before  his  death 
he  wrote  to  the  son  of  Cotton  Mather  that  the  reading  of  the 
mutilated  copy  of  his  father's  little  book  gave  him  such  a  turn 
of  thinking  as  to  have  an  influence  upon  his  conduct  through- 
out life,  "for  I  have  always  set  a  greater  value  on  the  charac- 
ter of  a  doer  of  good  than  on  any  other  kind  of  reputation ; 
and  if  I  have  been,  as  you  seem  to  think,  a  useful  citizen,  the 
public  owes  the  advantage  of  it  to  that  book."  *  He  has  de- 
scribed in  his  "Autobiography"  the  kind  of  books  that  fell 
in  his  way.  He  bought  Bunyan's  works  and  sold  them  to  buy 
R.  Burton's  Historical  Collections.  He  borrowed  books 
from  Mr.  Matthew  Adams,  a  tradesman,  and  became  a 
vegetarian  in  order  to  save  a  little  with  which  to  buy  books. 
He  read  attentively  and  intensely,  with  his  faculties  all  awake. 
Books  influenced  him  greatly.  His  vegetarianism  was  sug- 
gested by  a  book  written  by  Dr.  Thomas  Tryon,  commending 
that  kind  of  diet.  Xenophon's  "Memorabilia"  caused  him 
to  adopt  the  Socratic  method  of  dispute.  From  Shaftesbury 
and  Collins  he  caught  the  measles  of  scepticism.  Before  he 
was  sixteen  he  had  bought  and  studied  Cocker's  Arithmetic, 

1  To  Samuel  Mather,  May  12,  1784. 


Greenwood's  Grammar,  the  Port  Royal  Logic,  and  Locke 
on  the  "Human  Understanding." 

With  these  to  steady  his  mind,  and  Bunyan,  Defoe,  and 
Addison  to  excite  his  imagination  and  enrich  his  language, 
he  had  the  materials  for  solid  and  efficient  education. 

At  the  age  of  twelve  he  was  apprenticed  to  his  brother  James 
who,  in  the  next  year  (1719),  began  to  print  the  Boston  Gazette, 
the  second  newspaper  in  America. 

In  seven  months'  time  the  paper  changed  ownership,  and 
Philip  Masgrave,  the  new  proprietor,  employed  another  printer. 
Partly  in  resentment  and  partly  from  a  belief  that  there  was 
room  for  more  than  one  newspaper  in  America,  James  Franklin 
issued  upon  the  yth  of  August,  1721,  the  first  number  of  The 
New  England  Courant,  the  fourth  newspaper  to  be  published  in 
the  colonies.  The  printer  promised  that  it  should  be  issued 
"once  a  Fortnight  and  out  of  meer  kindness  to  my  Brother- 
writers  I  intend  now  and  then  to  be  (like  them)  very  very  dull ; 
for  I  have  a  strong  Fancy,  that  unless  I  am  sometimes  flat  and 
low,  this  paper  will  not  be  very  grateful  to  them."  The  dul- 
ness  and  respectability  of  the  News-Letter  and  the  Gazette 
were  impudently  and  mercilessly  satirized.  The  publisher 
solicited  his  friends  to  favour  him  "with  some  short  Piece, 
Serious,  Sarcastick,  Ludicrous,  or  otherways  amusing;  or 
sometimes  professedly  Dul  (to  accomodate  some  of  his  Ac- 
quaintance) that  this  Courant  may  be  of  the  more  universal 
Use."  The  older  journals  replied  indignantly,  stigmatizing 
the  new  venture  as  "frothy  and  fulsome,"  and  inveighing 
against  the  "Ribaldry"  of  the  "Dull  cold  Skul"  of  its 
"Undertaker."  Young  men  of  good  family  and  good  edu- 
cation, some  of  them  students  of  medicine  and  all  of  them  brill- 
iant, reckless,  and  irreverent  —  the  very  Mohocks  of  litera- 


ture  —  gathered  about  James  Franklin  and  exhausted  their 
ingenuity  in  the  contrivance  of  fresh  forms  of  mockery  and 
satire.  Cotton  Mather  had  declared  in  favour  of  inoculation 
for  small-pox.  The  young  men  who  wrote  for  Couranto, 
as  the  new  paper  was  popularly  called,  heaped  their  ridicule 
upon  him,  and  aspersed  the  clergy.  Mather  replied  in  the 
News-Letter  comparing  the  Courantists  to  the  Hell-fire  Club 
of  London;  "notwithstanding  God's  hand  is  against  us" 
he  wrote,  "in  his  visitation  of  the  small-pox,  and  the  threaten- 
ing aspect  of  the  wet  weather,  we  find  a  notorious,  scandalous 
paper,  called  the  Courant,  full  freighted  with  nonsense,  un- 
manliness,  prophaneness,  immorality,  arrogance,  calumnies, 
lies,  contradictions  and  what  not,  all  tending  to  quarrels 
and  divisions,  and  to  debauch  and  corrupt  the  minds  and 
manners  of  New  England."  Increase  Mather  joined  the 
fray  and  fulmined  over  Boston.  He  had  seen  the  day  when 
such  "a  cursed  Libel"  would  have  been  suppressed  by  the 
Civil  Authorities :  "  Which  if  it  be  not  done  I  am  afraid  that 
some  awful  Judgment  will  come  upon  this  Land  and  the 
wrath  of  God  will  arise  and  there  will  be  no  Remedy.  I  can- 
not but  pity  poor  Franklin,  who,  tho'  but  a  young  Man  it 
may  be  speedily  he  must  appear  before  the  Judgment  Seat 
of  God,  and  what  answer  will  he  give  for  printing  things  so 
vile  and  abominable?" 

The  ruling  powers  of  Massachusetts  looked  upon  the  tres- 
passes of  this  malicious  and  noisy  newspaper  with  singularly 
tolerant  and  idle  sight.  Their  patience  was  not  exhausted 
until  nearly  a  year  after  it  had  begun  its  mad  career.  In  May, 
1722,  a  pirate  vessel  was  seen  off  Block  Island.  It  was  re- 
solved in  the  House  of  Representatives  to  despatch  an  armed 
vessel  in  pursuit  of  her,  and  it  was  ordered  that  a  bounty 


should  be  paid  for  every  pirate  killed,  and  that  the  rover's 
ship  and  cargo  should  be  the  property  of  the  captors.  The 
C  our  ant  for  June  n,  1722,  sarcastically  announced  in  a  ficti- 
tious letter  from  Newport,  "We  are  advised  from  Boston,  that 
the  government  of  the  Massachusetts  are  fitting  out  a  ship, 
(the  Flying  Horse)  to  go  after  the  pirates,  to  be  commanded 
by  Captain  Peter  Papillon,  and  'tis  thought  he  will  sail  some 
time  this  month,  wind  and  weather  permitting." 

The  pranks  of  James  Franklin  had  now  become  too  broad 
to  bear  with.  He  was  summoned  before  the  Council,  the 
offensive  paragraph  pronounced  "  a  high  affront  to  the  govern- 
ment," and  he  was  sentenced  to  Boston  jail  where  he  re- 
mained a  month.  After  his  release  the  Courant  was  conducted 
more  boldly  and  outrageously  than  before.  The  Council, 
irritated  beyond  endurance,  decided  that  the  tendency  of 
the  paper  was  to  mock  religion,  and  to  disturb  the  peace  and 
good  order  of  the  Province.  James  Franklin  was  therefore 
strictly  forbidden  "to  print  or  publish  The  New  England  Cou- 
rant, or  any  other  pamphlet  or  paper  of  the  like  nature,  except  it 
be  first  supervised  by  the  Secretary  of  this  Province."  Benjamin 
Franklin  had  tried  his  'prentice  hand  in  managing  the  paper 
during  his  brother's  previous  imprisonment.  He  had  shown 
ability  and  resource.  It  was  now  decided  that  he  should 
appear  as  the  sole  publisher.  His  indentures  were  cancelled 
and  returned  to  him.  New  indentures  were  signed  and  con- 
cealed. An  advertisement  was  inserted  in  the  Courant  of  Feb- 
ruary n,  1 7  23,  certifying  that  "the  late  Publisher  of  this  Paper, 
finding  so  many  Inconveniences  would  arise  by  his  carrying 
the  Manuscripts  and  Publick  News  to  be  supervis'd  by  the 
Secretary,  as  to  render  his  carrying  it  on  unprofitable,  has 
intirely  dropt  the  Undertaking."  In  the  same  issue  and 


directly  beneath  this  falsehood  Benjamin  Franklin  printed  his 
preface  to  the  first  number  of  the  paper  printed  and  sold  in 
his  name.1 

Under  the  new  management  the  paper  prospered  greatly. 
It  did  not  mend  its  manners.  It  still  indulged  in  pro- 
fane jests,  and  cynical  scofimgs  at  religion.  But  it  grew 
in  public  favour,  and  a  penny  was  added  to  its  price, 
and  the  subscription  raised  from  ten  shillings  a  year  to 
twelve  shillings. 

In  the  meanwhile  the  brothers  were  constantly  bickering. 
James  was  quick-tempered,  envious,  and  domineering ;  Ben- 
jamin was  self- willed,  opinionated,  and  defiant  of  restraint 
and  correction.  Stormy  scenes  between  them  ended  with 
punishment  administered  by  the  elder  and  more  passionate. 
Benjamin  would  endure  it  no  longer.  He  knew  that  his 
brother  would  be  afraid  to  refer  to  the  secret  indentures.  The 
cancelled  ones  were  in  his  own  possession.  He  declared 
himself  free.  James  persuaded  the  Boston  printers  not  to  give 
employment  to  his  apprentice  who  had  treated  him  unfaith- 
fully and  dishonestly.  Benjamin  sold  a  few  of  his  books, 
stole  secretly  on  board  a  sloop  in  Boston  harbour,  and  fled  to 
New  York.  In  that  city,  then  inhabited  by  seven  or  eight 
thousand  persons,  there  was  as  yet  neither  book-shop  nor 
newspaper.  There  was  but  one  printing-office,  that  of  Will- 
iam Bradford,  the  pioneer  printer,  who  had  set  the  first  type 
in  the  middle  colonies.  He  recommended  Franklin  to 
proceed  to  Philadelphia  where  his  son  Andrew  Bradford 

1  "  The  New  England  Courant.  N°  80.  From  Monday  February  4.  to 
Monday  February  n.  1723. 

Boston :  Printed  and  sold  by  Benjamin  Franklin  in  Queen  Street,  where 
Advertisements  are  taken  in." 

This  preface  is  reprinted  in  this  edition,  Vol.  II,  p.  49. 


might  give  him  employment,  having  lately  lost  his  principal 
hand,  Aquila  Rose,  by  death. 

Philadelphia  was  then  the  chief  city  of  the  continent.  It 
had  been  compared  a  few  years  before  by  Prideaux  to  ancient 
Babylon,  and  the  prophecy  had  been  ventured  that  if  the 
whole  city  were  "  built  according  to  the  plan  of  William  Perm 
it  would  be  the  fairest  and  best  city  in  all  America  and  not 
much  behind  any  other  in  the  whole  world."  l  "M.  Pen," 
said  Montesquieu,  "  est  un  veritable  Lycurgue."  Into  this 
city  Franklin  came  upon  a  Sunday  morning  in  October,  1723, 
and  the  following  morning  called  upon  Andrew  Bradford  and 
was  sent  on  by  him  to  another  printer  who  had  but  re- 
cently set  up  his  press  in  the  city.  Franklin  found  Samuel 
Keimer,  the  new  printer,  a  half -crazed  Anabaptist,  in  the  act 
of  setting  in  type  an  elegy  upon  Aquila  Rose,  the  deceased 
journeyman.  These  were  the  verses  which  Franklin  promised 
to  print  off  for  him  as  soon  as  he  should  have  got  the  elegy 
ready :  — 

"  What  mournful  accents  thus  accost  mine  ear, 
What  doleful  echoes  hourly  thus  appear  ! 
What  sighs  from  melting  hearts  proclaim  aloud 
The  solemn  mourning  of  this  numerous  crowd. 
In  sable  characters  the  news  is  read 
Our  Rose  is  withered  and  our  Eagle's  fled 
In  that  our  dear  Aquila  Rose  is  dead." 

For  a  few  months  Franklin  continued  to  work  for  Keimer 
and  to  lodge  with  the  family  of  Mr.  Read,  whose  daughter 
Deborah  had  laughed  at  his  ridiculous  appearance  the  morn- 
ing he  arrived  in  Philadelphia.  He  made  several  acquaint- 
ances, and  among  others  he  came  to  know  William  Keith, 
the  governor  of  the  Province.  Keith  was  vain,  pompous, 

1  Prideaux's  "Connection,"  Vol.  I,  p.  213  (1716). 


harassed  by  debts,  and  had  a  weak  sense  of  honour.  He  was 
lavish  in  promises  which  he  had  neither  the  ability  or  the  in- 
tention to  observe.  He  pleased  himself  in  patronizing  Frank- 
lin and  persuaded  him  to  go  to  England  to  choose  the  types 
and  other  furnishings  of  a  printing-house,  promising  to  set 
him  up  in  business  upon  his  return. 

He  reached  London  (December  24, 1724)  to  find  that  he  had 
been  grossly  deceived,  and  that  no  letters  of  recommendation 
or  of  credit  had  been  sent  to  him  by  the  governor.  He  was 
alone,  friendless,  and  almost  penniless.  He  sought  employ- 
ment among  the  printers,  and  found  it  in  Bartholomew  Close. 
Here  in  Palmer's  printing-house  he  set  the  type  for  Wollas- 
ton's  "Religion  of  Nature  Delineated,"1  and  his  scepticism 
was  so  much  offended  by  its  piety  that  he  attempted  to  refute 
it  in  a  pamphlet  entitled  "A  Dissertation  on  Liberty  and 
Necessity,  Pleasure  and  Pain."  The  author  of  "The  In- 
fallibility of  Human  Judgment"  was  pleased  with  the  pam- 
phlet and  interested  in  the  author,  and  introduced  him  to 
a  cheerful  Society  of  free  thinkers  who  gathered  at  the  Horns, 
a  pale  ale  house  in  an  alley  off  Cheapside,  where  he  made  the 
acquaintance  of  Mandeville  and  Henry  Pemberton.  His 
days  sped  industriously  enough  in  the  printing-house,  first 
of  Palmer  in  Bartholomew  Close,  then  of  Watts  near  Lin- 
coln's Inn  Fields.  His  nights  were  spent  in  cynical  criticism 
of  religion  or  in  the  company  of  dissolute  women.  Occa- 
sionally he  disported  upon  the  Thames,  astonishing  his  asso- 
ciates with  his  extraordinary  skill  in  swimming.  Sir  William 
Wyndham  heard  of  his  feat  of  swimming  from  Chelsea  to 
Blackfriars  and  sent  for  him  to  teach  his  two  sons.  Upon 

1  He  worked  upon  the  second  published  edition,  not  the  second  printed. 
It  was  the  edition  of  1725,  not  of  1724. 


what  small  events  the  destinies  of  life  may  turn !  But  that 
he  had  already  accepted  a  clerkship  under  his  friend  Denham, 
he  might  have  become  and  remained  instructor  in  a  swimming 

He  sailed  with  Denham  from  Gravesend  July  23,  1726, 
and  landed  at  Philadelphia  on  the  nth  of  October.  The 
two  travellers  went  in  business  together  in  Water  Street,  Den- 
ham as  proprietor,  Franklin  as  clerk.  In  February,  1727, 
just  after  Franklin  had  passed  his  twenty-first  year,  he  was 
attacked  by  pleurisy  which  nearly  carried  him  out  of  life. 
Mr.  Denham,  too,  fell  ill,  and  after  a  long  time  succumbed  to 
his  malady. 

With  Denham's  death  Franklin's  mercantile  experience 
ceased.  He  accepted  an  offer  of  liberal  wages  from  Kei- 
mer  and  resumed  his  occupation  as  a  printer.  He  separated 
from  Keimer  to  found  his  own  printing-house,  and  in  the 
spring  of  1728,  in  partnership  with  Hugh  Meredith,  he  began 
business  at  "the  new  printing  office  hi  High  Street,  near  the 
Market."  *  He  was  now  at  the  beginning  of  a  career  in  which 
by  industry  and  frugality  he  was  to  win  independence  and  a 
competent  fortune,  and  to  make  possible  his  achievements  in 
science  and  his  dedication  of  himself  to  the  public  service. 

At  this  time  the  only  newspaper  published  in  Pennsylvania 
was  the  American  Weekly  Mercury.  Franklin  determined  to 
start  another.  Unfortunately  he  told  his  plan  to  one  who 
disclosed  it  to  Keimer,  who  immediately  published  proposals 
for  one  of  his  own  making.  He  called  his  paper  The  Uni- 
versal Instructor  in  all  Arts  and  Sciences  and  Pennsylvania 
Gazette,  and  issued  the  first  number  December  28,  1728. 

1  Benjamin  Franklin  and  Hugh  Meredith  dissolved  partnership,  July  14, 
1730  (not  in  1729,  as  it  is  stated  in  the  "Autobiography"). 


The  Instruction  was  furnished  by  the  republication  in  this 
diminutive  sheet  of  Chambers's  "  Universal  Dictionary  of  all 
the  Arts  and  Sciences,"  beginning  with  the  first  letter  of  the 
alphabet.  Vexed  that  his  plan  had  been  frustrated,  Franklin 
determined  to  wreck  his  rival's  enterprise.  He  contributed 
to  the  Mercury  a  series  of  able  essays  subscribed  the  "Busy- 
body." His  end  was  speedily  accomplished.  The  clever- 
ness and  entertainment  of  his  essays  diverted  newspaper 
readers  from  the  drowsy  numbers  of  the  Universal  In- 
structor, to  the  sprightlier  columns  of  the  Mercury.  Keimer's 
credit  hi  business  declined,  and  he  was  forced  to  sell  his  print- 
ing-house and  to  go  to  Barbadoes.  His  newspaper  passed 
into  Franklin's  hands,  the  publication  of  the  Busybody  was 
resigned  to  Joseph  Brientnal,  and  with  Number  40,  October 
2,  1729,  shorn  of  the  ponderous  and  meaningless  part  of  its 
title,  The  Pennsylvania  Gazette  began  a  new  existence. 
Never  had  so  much  fun,  folly,  wisdom,  and  originality  been 
offered  to  the  public.  The  character  of  the  newspaper  has 
already  been  sufficiently  described.  It  grew  rapidly  in  public 
favour.  The  publisher  worked  hard  and  in  all  seasons.  He 
made  and  sold  lampblack  and  Aleppo  ink.  He  brought 
home  in  a  wheelbarrow  his  purchases  of  stationery,  wore  the 
leathern  apron  and  the  printer's  cap,  and  breakfasted  upon 
bread  and  milk  which  he  ate  out  of  an  earthen  porringer  with 
a  pewter  spoon.  He  vended  goose  quills  and  live  goose 
feathers,  and  offered  "likely  negro  wenches"  for  sale.  At 
his  shop  could  be  purchased  Bibles,  Testaments,  Psalters, 
gilt  paper,  mourning  paper,  memorandum  books,  pounce, 
spectacles,  Unseed  oil,  and  "  very  good  chocolate." 

The  next  year  he  corrected,  as  he  says,  a  great  erratum 
of  his  life.    Before  going  to  England  he  had  exchanged  prom- 


ises  of  marriage  with  Miss  Read.  During  his  absence  he  had 
neglected  to  write  to  her,  and  she  had  yielded  to  the  solicita- 
tions of  her  family  and  had  become  the  wife  of  a  worthless 
man  who  had  deserted  her.  Franklin  "took  her  to  wife," 
September  i,  1730.*  No  record  of  the  marriage  ceremony 
has  been  found,  if,  indeed,  a  formal  marriage  could  have  been 
possible  when  positive  evidence  of  her  husband's  death  was 
lacking.  It  appears  to  have  been  a  happy  marriage.  She 
was  illiterate,  but  a  thrifty  housewife.  She  bore  him  two 
children,  Francis  Folger  who  died  in  childhood,  of  small-pox, 
and  a  daughter,  Sarah,  from  whom  descend  all  who  inherit 
the  blood  of  Franklin. 

She  accepted  his  illegitimate  son  of  unknown  parentage 
who  became  governor  of  New  Jersey,  and  although,  accord- 
ing to  some  witnesses,  she  gave  way  to  occasional  gusts  of 
temper,2  she  reared  him  with  her  own  children  and  with  like 

1  Mrs.  Read  came  to  live  with  her  daughter  and  son-in-law,  and  the  adver- 
tisement of  her  trade  appears  as  follows  in  successive  numbers  of  The  Penn- 
sylvania Gazette :  "  The  Widow  Read,  removed  from  the  upper  End  of  High 
Street  to  the  New  Printing  Office  near  the  Market,  continues  to  make  and 
sell  her  well-known  Ointment  for  the  ITCH,  with  which  she  has  cured  abun- 
dance of  People  in  and  about  this  City  for  many  Years  past.     It  is  always 
effectual  for  that  purpose,  and  never  fails  to  perform  the  Cure  speedily.     It 
also  kills  or  drives  away  all  Sorts. of  Lice  in  once  or  twice  using.     It  has  no 
offensive  Smell,  but  rather  a  pleasant  one  ;  and  may  be  used  without  the 
least  Apprehension  of  Danger,  even  to  a  sucking  Infant,  being  perfectly  inno- 
cent and  safe.    Price  2  s.  a  Gallypot  containing  an  Ounce  ;  which  is  sufficient 
to  remove  the  most  inveterate  Itch,  and  render  the  Skin  clear  and  smooth. 

"  She  also  continues  to  make  and  sell  her  excellent  Family  Salve  or  Oint- 
ment, for  Burns  or  Scalds,  (Price  I  s.  an  Ounce)  and  several  other  Sorts  of 
Ointments  and  Salves  as  usual. 

"At  the  same  Place  may  be  had  Lockyer's  Pills,  at  3  d.  a  Pill." 

2  " '  Mr.  Fisher  there  goes  the  greatest  Villain  upon  Earth.'     This  greatly 
confounded  and  perplex'd  me,  but  did  not   hinder   her  from  pursuing   her 
Invectives  in  the   foulest  terms  I  ever  heard  from  a  Gentlewoman."     See 
"  Diary  of  Daniel  Fisher  "  (Penn.  Mag.  of  Hist,  and  Biog.  1893,  Vol.  XVII, 
p.  156). 


care.  She  bore  patiently  her  husband's  long  absences  from 
America  —  he  was  in  England  on  public  business  for  thirteen 
of  the  last  seventeen  years  of  her  life,  and  her  invincible  aver- 
sion to  crossing  the  sea  stayed  her  at  home.  He  complained 
occasionally  of  her  expenses,  but  only  after  the  first  slight 
stroke  of  paralysis  had  affected  her  mind  and  memory. 
Others,  however,  who  had  dealings  with  her  before  that  time 
complained  to  him  of  her  temper  and  her  unwillingness  to  pay 
her  debts.  A  certain  Sarah  Broughton  wrote  to  him  (July  i, 
1766)  that  Mrs.  Franklin  owed  her  ^31. 14.  9,  an  account  that 
had  been  running  for  seven  years,  and  also  for  a  bed  which  she 
had  for  two  years  and  now  wanted  to  return  because  the 
price  of  feathers  was  fallen  from  three  shillings  fourpence  to 
two  shillings  a  pound.  She  said  that  she  had  written  to  Mrs. 
Franklin  who  replied  "that  she  did  not  know  me,  and  that  I 
might  write  to  you  she  was  an  hegehog.  Now  sir  I  don't 
think  her  a  hegehog  but  in  reallity  she  has  shot  a  great  many 
Quills  at  me,  but  thank  Heaven  none  of  them  has  or  can  hurt 
me  as  I  doubt  not  that  your  known  Justice  will  induce  you  to 
order  the  above  sum  of  seven  pounds,  seven  shillings  payed." 
Franklin  seems  in  his  domestic  life  to  have  acted  upon  Poor 
Richard's  advice,  "  Keep  your  eyes  wide  open  before  marriage, 
half  shut  afterwards,"  and  he  seems  to  have  been  quite  un- 
disturbed by  any  of  his  wife's  faults.  "You  can  bear  with 
your  own  Faults  and  why  not  a  Fault  in  your  Wife?"  he  would 
sometimes  ask. 

At  this  time,  too  (1731),  he  set  on  foot  his  first  project  of  a 
public  nature,  that  for  a  subscription  library.  It  has  become 
the  fashion  to  deny  to  Franklin  the  honour  of  the  foundation 
of  the  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia,  "the  mother  of  all 
the  North  American  subscription  libraries."  His  constant 


interest  in  its  growth  and  welfare  is  everywhere  apparent  in 
his  correspondence,  both  in  his  soliciting  aid  for  it  from  his 
learned  friends  abroad,  and  his  own  active  quest  after  books 
to  be  added  to  it  when  he  was  hi  England.  Certainly  no  doubt 
existed  in  his  lifetime  as  to  the  character  and  extent  of  the 
obligation.  When  the  foundation  of  a  new  building  for  the 
library  was  contemplated,  Franklin  was  requested  to  prepare 
a  suitable  inscription.  Mr.  Richard  Wells  was  appointed  by 
the  directors  to  confer  with  him,  and  the  following  corre- 
spondence took  place  between  them. 

"Rd.  Wells  presents  his  best  Respects  to  Dr.  Franklin  and 
takes  the  Liberty  of  suggesting  something  of  the  Substance  of 
what  he  believes  would  give  general  Satisfaction.  As  it  is 
well  known  to  the  present  Inhabitants  of  the  City  how  much 
they  are  indebted  to  Dr.  Franklin  for  the  first  Idea  as  well  as 
Execution  of  the  Plan  for  a  public  Library;  Rd.  Wells  is 
very  certain  it  would  be  the  general  Wish  to  perpetuate  a 
grateful  Remembrance  of  it."  (Philadelphia,  August  29, 

"Dr.  Franklin  presents  his  Respects  to  Mr.  Wells;  he 
did  not  intend  any  Mention  of  himself  hi  the  propos'd  In- 
scription, and  even  wrote  it  at  first  without  the  Words  'chear- 
fully  at  the  Instance  of  one  of  their  Number,'  but  hi  compli- 
ance with  Mr.  Wells's  Idea,  has  added  them  tho'  he  still 
thinks  it  would  be  better  without  them.  He  cannot, 
however,  but  be  pleased  with  every  Mark  of  the  Kind 
Regard  of  his  Fellow-citizens  towards  him.  It  is  his  own 
being  concern'd  in  promoting  such  Testimonies  that  he 
thinks  improper;  and  as  that  drawn  by  Mr.  Wells  may 
be  understood  as  proceeding  from  him,  he  wishes  it  may  be 
so  considered." 


Saturday  P.M.August  29.  1789. 

Be  it  remembred 

In  Honour  of  the  Philadelphian  Youth 
[then  chiefly  Artificers] 
That  in  MDCCXXXII 

They  chearfully,  at  the  Instance  of  one  of  their  Number, 
Instituted  the  Philadelphia  Library 

Which  tho'  small  at  first 
Is  become  highly  Valuable 

and  extensively  useful 

And  which  the  Walls  of  this  Edifice 

Are  now  destined  to  Contain  and  Preserve 

The  First  Stone  of  whose  Foundation 

was  here  placed 

the  3  ist  Day  of  August 


All  these  activities  find  candid  and  sufficient  expression  in 
the  first  draft  of  the  "Autobiography"  written  at  Twyford. 
It  is  a  life  of  eager  industry  that  is  revealed,  characterized 
by  thrift  and  frugality  and  by  the  practical  public  spirit  of 
the  good  citizen. 

At  twenty-one  he  had  organized  the  Junto,  a  club  which  was 
originally  called  "The  Leather  Apron";  at  twenty-two  he 
was  in  full  business  career;  at  twenty-three  he  was  the  author 
of  an  important  tract  upon  "Paper  Currency,"  and  editor  of 
The  Pennsylvania  Gazette  which  at  once  became  an  influen- 
tial factor  in  public  opinion.  At  twenty-five  he  had  started 
the  Philadelphia  Library,  and  the  next  year  was  launching  the 
famous  series  of  "Poor  Richard"  almanacs.  His  ideal  was 
a  life  of  thrift,  caution,  husbandry,  comfort,  and  rational 
enjoyment.  He  knew  no  sad  torment  of  the  thoughts  that 
lie  beyond  the  reaches  of  our  souls ;  he  was  undisturbed  by  the 

1  From  the  Stevens  Collection,  Library  of  Congress,  No.  2056.  Mr.  John 
Boyd  Thacher,  of  Albany,  possesses  a  list  of  books  in  Franklin's  handwriting, 
with  the  caption  "  Catalogue  of  the  Philadelphia  Library." 


burden  of  the  mystery  of  the  heavy  and  the  weary  weight  of 
all  this  unintelligible  world.  While  the  New  Englanders  were 
contemplating  with  awe  the  dread  mysteries  of  Eternity,  he 
was  minding  his  shop  and  his  small  concerns  of  earth.  A 
frank  acceptance  of  the  material  world  and  a  desire  to  do  some 
practical  good  in  it  —  these  things  were  the  life  of  Franklin. 
And  so  he  founded  benevolent  and  useful  institutions  —  hos- 
pitals, libraries,  schools,  and  learned  societies,  invented  stoves 
and  lightning-rods  and  labour-saving  devices,  lighted  and 
paved  streets,  and  protected  towns  from  fire.  Such  utilitarian 
subjects  occupied  him.  He  did  not  squander  his  thought  in 
desperate  ventures  of  new-found  and  foggy  metaphysics. 

Of  course  his  successes  were  won  not  without  opposition, 
and  they  were  not  unaccompanied  by  jealousy  and  malignity. 
A  tragical  occurrence  which  took  place  in  Philadelphia  in 
1737  and  in  which  the  whole  city  was  interested  brought 
Franklin  into  such  unpleasant  notoriety  that  he  felt  it  neces- 
sary to  justify  himself  in  his  newspaper  and  to  solicit  the 
affidavits  of  his  friends  in  his  behalf. 

Dr.  Evan  Jones,  a  chemist,  was  found  guilty  of  manslaugh- 
ter, having  occasioned  the  death  of  his  apprentice.  The 
youth  had  expressed  a  desire  to  be  initiated  into  the  mysteries 
of  freemasonry ;  his  master  and  a  few  friends  in  a  spirit  of 
evil  pleasantry  diverted  themselves  with  obscene  and  blas- 
phemous jests  at  the  youth's  expense.  The  Mercury  de- 
clared that  Franklin  had  greatly  relished  the  whole  affair, 
and  had  been  a  participant  hi  the  diabolical  scene  that  ended 
in  a  tragedy. 

Public  sentiment  had  been  so  outraged  by  the  affair  that 
Franklin  immediately  replied  to  the  charge  in  the  following 
letter:  — 

VOL.  X  —  M 


"  Some  very  false  and  scandalous  Aspersions  being  thrown 
on  me  in  the  Mercury  of  Yesterday,  with  regard  to  Dr.  Jones's 
Affair,  I  find  myself  obliged  to  set  that  Matter  in  a  true  light. 

"  Sometime  in  June  last,  Mr.  Danby,  Mr.  Alrihs,  and  myself 
were  appointed  by  the  Court  of  Common-Pleas,  as  Auditors 
to  settle  an  Affair,  between  Dr.  Jones  and  Armstrong  Smith, 
then  depending  in  said  Court.  We  met  accordingly  at  a 
Tavern  in  Market  Street  on  the  Saturday  Morning  before 
the  Tragedy  was  acted  in  the  Doctors  Cellar.  Dr.  Jones 

appeared,  and  R n  as  his  Attorney,  but  Smith  could  not 

readily  be  found.  While  we  waited  for  Smith,  in  order  to  hear 
both  Parties  together;  the  Doctor  and  R n  began  to  en- 
tertain us  with  an  Account  of  some  Diversion  they  had  lately 
had  with  the  Dr's  Apprentice,  who  being  desirous  of  being 
made  a  Free-Mason,  they  had  persuaded  him  they  could  make 
him  one,  and  accordingly  had  taught  him  several  ridiculous 
Signs,  Words  and  Ceremonies,  of  which  he  was  very  fond. 
Tis  true  I  laugh'd  (and  perhaps  heartily,  as  my  Manner  is) 
at  the  Beginning  of  their  Relation ;  but  when  they  came  to 
those  circumstances  of  their  giving  him  a  violent  Purge, 
leading  him  to  kiss  J's  Posteriors,  and  adminstring  to  him 

the  diabolical  Oath  which  R n  read  to  us,  I  grew  indeed 

serious,  as  I  suppose  the  most  merry  Man  (not  inclin'd  to 
Mischief)  would  on  such  an  Occasion.  Nor  did  any  one  of 

the  Company  except  the  Doctor  and  R n  themselves, 

seem  in  the  least  pleas'd  with  the  Affair,  but  the  contrary. 
Mr.  Danby  in  particular  said,  That  if  they  had  done  such 
Things  in  England  they  would  be  prosecuted.  Mr.  Alrihs, 
That  he  did  not  believe  they  could  stand  by  it.  And  my  self, 
That  when  the  Young  Man  came  to  know  how  he  had  been 
impos'd  on,  he  would  never  forgive  them.  But  the  Doctor 


and  R n  went  on  to  tell  us,  that  they  design'd  to  have  yet 

some  further  Diversion,  on  pretence  of  raising  him  to  a  higher 
Degree  in  Masonry.  Re n  said  it  was  intended  to  intro- 
duce him  blindfolded  and  stripp'd  into  a  Room  where  the 
Company  being  each  provided  with  a  Rod  or  Switch  should 
chastize  him  smartly ;  which  the  Doctor  oppos'd,  and  said  he 
had  a  better  Invention;  they  would  have  a  Game  of  Snap- 
Dragon  in  a  dark  Cellar,  where  some  Figures  should  be  dress'd 
up,  that  by  the  pale  Light  of  Burning  Brandy  would  appear 

horrible  and  frighten  him  d bly.     Soon  after  the  Discourse 

the  young  Man  himself  coming  in  to  speak  with  his  Master, 
the  Doctor  pointed  at  me,  and  said  to  him,  Daniel,  that  Gen- 
tleman is  a  Free-Mason;  make  a  sign  to  him.  Which 
whether  he  did  or  not,  I  cannot  tell ;  for  I  was  so  far  from  en- 
couraging him  in  the  Delusion,  or  taking  him  by  the  Hand,  or 
calling  him  Brother,  and  welcoming  him  into  the  Fraternity, 
as  is  said,  that  I  turned  my  Head  to  avoid  seeing  him  make 
his  pretended  Sign,  and  look'd  out  of  the  Window  into  the 
Garden :  And  all  those  Circumstances,  with  that  of  my  desir- 
ing to  have  Notice  that  I  might  be  present  at  the  Snap-Dragon, 
are  absolutely  false  and  groundless.  I  was  acquainted  with 
him,  and  had  a  Respect  for  the  young  Lad's  Father,  and 
thought  it  a  Pity  his  Son  should  be  so  impos'd  upon,  and  there- 
fore follow'd  the  Lad  down  Stairs  to  the  Door  when  he  went 
out,  with  a  Design  to  call  him  back  and  give  a  Hint  of  the  Im- 
position ;  but  he  was  gone  out  of  sight  and  I  never  saw  him 
afterwards ;  for  the  Monday  Night  following,  the  Affair  in  the 
Cellar  was  transacted  which  prov'd  his  Death.  As  to  the 

Paper  or  Oath,  I  did  desire  R n  when  he  had  read  it  to 

let  me  see  it ;  and  finding  it  a  Piece  of  a  very  extraordinary 
Nature,  I  told  him  I  was  desirous  to  shew  it  to  some  of  my 


Acquaintance,  and  so  put  it  in  my  Pocket.  I  communicated 
it  to  one  who  mention'd  it  to  others,  and  so  many  people 
flock'd  to  my  House  for  a  Sight  of  it,  that  it  grew  troublesome, 
and  therefore  when  the  Mayor  sent  for  it,  I  was  glad  of  the 
Opportunity  to  be  discharg'd  from  it.  Nor  do  I  yet  conceive 
that  it  was  my  Duty  to  conceal  or  destroy  it.  And  being  sub- 
pena'd  on  the  Tryal  as  a  Witness  for  the  King,  I  appear'd 
and  gave  my  Evidence  fully,  freely  and  impartially,  as  I 
think  it  becomes  an  honest  Man  to  do.  And  I  may  call  every 
one  to  whom  I  read  that  Paper,  to  witness,  that  I  always 
accompanied  it  with  Expressions  of  Detestation.  This  being 
the  true  State  of  the  Case,  I  think  I  may  reasonably  hope,  that 
I  am  so  well  known  in  this  City,  where  I  have  liv'd  near  14 
Years,  as  that  the  false  and  malicious  Insinuation  contain'd  in 
the  Mercury,  will  not  do  the  Injury  to  my  Reputation  that 
seemed  intended. 


«*  *  *  ptg.    I  suppose  A.  B.  will  answer  for  himself." 
"  We  whose  Names  are  here  unto  subscribed,  do  certify, 
That  we  were  present  at  the  Time  and  Place  above-mentioned, 
when  Dr.  Jones  and  J n  R n  related  their  Proceed- 
ings with  Daniel  R s ;  and  we  do  very  well  remember, 

that  they  were  not  countenanc'd  or  encourag'd  by  any  Person 
Present,  but  the  contrary.  And  that  Benjamin  Franklin  in 
particular  did  speak  against  it,  and  did  neither  approve  of 
what  had  been  already  done  (as  related  by  the  Doctor  and 

R n)  nor  desire  to  be  present  at  what  was  propos'd  to  be 

farther  done  with  the  said  Daniel  R s,  as  is  f alsly  insin- 
uated in  Mr.  Bradford's  last  Mercury.  And  this  we  declare 
sincerely  and  freely,  without  any  other  Motive  than  the  Desire 


of  doing  Justice  to  the  Reputation  of  the  said  Benjamin 
Franklin.  Witness  our  Hands,  this  i$th  Day  of  February, 
1737,  8 


"  The  above-named  John  Danby  being  sworn  upon  the 
Holy  Evangelists,  and  Haraianus  Alrihs  being  duly  affirmed, 
on  their  respective  Qualifications  did  declare,  that  the  Con- 
tents of  the  above  Certificate  were  true. 

"  Sworn  and  affirm'd 
Before  me,  this  i5th 
of  February  1737,  81 


The  rivalry  between  Bradford  and  Franklin  was  keen  and 
warm.  Bradford  used  his  office  as  postmaster  to  shut  the 
Gazette  out  of  the  mails,  but  he  did  not  enjoy  his  advantage 
long  for  his  tardiness  in  rendering  his  accounts  caused 
Colonel  Spotswood,  then  postmaster-general,  to  take  from  him 
his  commission  and  to  confer  it  upon  Franklin  (1737).  The 
Mercury  sympathetically  fell  with  the  fallen  fortunes  of  its 

In  1740  Franklin  undertook  to  publish  a  monthly  literary 
magazine,  an  enterprise  of  which  it  is  curious  that  no  mention 
is  made  in  the  "Autobiography."  It  was  the  first  time  that 
such  a  proposition  had  been  considered  in  America. 

John  Webbe  who  had  written  heavy,  prosy  articles  for  the 
Gazette  was  engaged  as  editor,  and  the  terms  of  publication 
were  agreed  upon.  When  Webbe  had  learned  Franklin's  plan, 
he  betrayed  the  details  of  it  to  Andrew  Bradford.  Directly 

1  From  The  Pennsylvania  Gazette,  February  15,  1737,  1738. 


an  announcement  appeared  in  the  Mercury  that  upon  the 
3oth  of  October,  1740,  a  magazine  would  appear  edited 
by  Webbe  and  published  by  Bradford.  One  week  later 
Franklin  announced  The  General  Magazine  and  Historical 
Chronicle  for  All  the  British  Plantations  in  America.  He  ex- 
plained that  he  had  not  intended  to  publish  so  soon,  but  that 
a  person  to  whom  he  had  told  his  scheme  had  betrayed  it  in 
the  last  Mercury.  "This  Magazine,  in  imitation  of  those  in 
England,  was  long  since  projected ;  a  Correspondence  is  set- 
tled with  Intelligent  Men  in  most  of  the  Colonies,  and  small 
Types  are  procured,  for  carrying  it  on  in  the  best  Manner. 
It  would  not,  indeed,  have  been  published  quite  so  soon,  were  it 
not  that  a  Person,  to  whom  the  Scheme  was  communicated 
in  Confidence,  has  thought  fit  to  advertise  it  in  the  last  Mer- 
cury, without  our  Participation ;  and,  probably,  with  a  View, 
by  Starting  before  us,  to  discourage  us  from  prosecuting  our 
first  Design,  and  reap  the  Advantage  of  it  wholly  to  himself. 
We  shall  endeavour,  however,  by  executing  our  Plan  with 
Care,  Diligence  and  Impartiality,  and  by  printing  the  Work 
neatly  and  correctly,  to  deserve  a  Share  of  the  Publick 
Favour:  —  But  we  desire  no  Subscriptions.  We  shall  pub- 
lish the  Books  at  our  own  Expence,  and  risque  the  Sale  of 
them;  which  Method,  we  suppose,  will  be  most  agreeable  to 
our  Readers,  as  they  will  then  be  at  Liberty  to  buy  only  what 
they  like ;  and  we  shall  be  under  a  constant  Necessity  of  en- 
deavouring to  make  every  particular  Pamphlet  worth  their 
Money.  Each  Magazine  shall  contain  four  Sheets,  of  com- 
mon sized  Paper,  in  a  small  Character:  Price  Six  Pence 
Sterling,  or  Nine  Pence  Pennsylvania  Money;  with  con- 
siderable Allowance  to  Chapmen  who  take  Quantities.  To 
be  printed  and  sold  by  Benjamin  Franklin  in  Philadelphia." 


Webbe  published  a  verbose  and  violent  reply  called  "The 
Detection,"  which  began  in  the  Mercury  of  November  13. 
He  charged  Franklin  with  shutting  the  Mercury  out  of  the 
post.  Franklin  replied  with  the  following  letter  in  the 
Gazette,  December  n,  I74O.1 

"The  Publick  has  been  entertain'd  for  these  three  Weeks 
past,  with  angry  Papers,  written  expressly  against  me,  and 
publish'd  in  the  Mercury.  The  two  first  I  utterly  neglected, 
as  believing  that  both  the  Facts  therein  stated,  and  the  ex- 
traordinary Reasonings  upon  them,  might  be  safely  enough 
left  to  themselves,  without  any  Animadversion;  and  I  have 
the  Satisfaction  to  find,  that  the  Event  has  answered  my 
Expectation:  But  the  last,  my  Friends  think  'tis  necessary 
I  should  take  some  Notice  of  it,  as  it  contains  an  Accusation 
that  has  at  least  a  Shew  of  Probability,  being  printed  by  a  Per- 
son to  whom  it  particularly  relates,  who  could  not  but  know 
whether  it  was  true  or  false ;  and  who,  having  still  some 
Reputation  to  guard,  it  may  be  presum'd,  could  by  no 
Means  be  prevail'd  on  tc  publish  a  Thing  as  Truth,  which 
was  contrary  to  his  own  Knowledge. 

" '  Mr.  Franklin  (says  the  Writer  in  the  Mercury)  has,  since 
my  first  Letter,  hi  Quality  of  Post-Master,  taken  upon  him  to 
deprive  the  Mercury  of  the  Benefit  of  the  Post,  and  will  not 
permit  it  to  travel  with  his  Gazette  which  charges  me  with  the 
most  infamous  Practices.  His  Resentment  against  his 
Brother  Printer  is  altogether  unreasonable;  for  a  Printer 
should  always  be  acquitted  from  being  a  Party  to  any  Writing, 
when  he  discovers  the  Author,  or  when  the  Author  sub- 

1  For  a  full  account  of  these  rival  magazines,  see  "  The  Philadelphia  Maga- 
zines and  their  Contributors,  1741-1850,"  by  Albert  H.  Smyth,  Philadelphia, 


scribes  his  Name ;  except  the  other  Knows  he  publishes  a 
Falshood  at  the  Time ;  which  cannot  be  supposed  to  be  the 
Case  in  respect  to  what  Mr.  Bradford  printed  for  me.' 

"It  unluckily  happens,  that  this  not  only  may  be  supposed 
to  be  the  Case  but  really  is  the  Case,  in  respect  to  this  very 

"  But  the  Truth  is,  that  'tis  now  upwards  of  a  Twelvemonth 
since  I  refus'd  to  forward  Mr.  Bradford's  Papers  free  by  the 
Post,  in  Obedience  to  a  positive  Order  from  the  Hon.  Col. 
Spotswood,  then  Post-Master  General. 

"To  prevent  any  Suspicion  of  the  Reality  of  such  an  Order, 
or  that  I  obtain'd  it  by  some  Misrepresentation  of  Mr.  Brad- 
ford, or  that  it  was  given  hastily,  thro'  Caprice,  or  without 
just  Reason,  I  am  sorry  I  am  oblig'd  to  mention,  That  his 
Detaining  the  Ballance  of  his  Accounts,  and  his  neglecting  to 
render  any  Account  for  a  long  time,  while  he  held  the  Post- 
Office  himself,  as  they  were  the  Occasion  of  his  Removal, 
so  they  drew  upon  him,  after  long  Patience  and  Forbearance, 
the  Resentment  of  the  Post-Master  General,  express'd  in 
the  following  Letter. 

"'Germanna,  Octob.  12.  1739. 


"'The  Part  which  your  Predecessor,  Mr.  Andrew  Bradford, 
has  acted  with  respect  to  the  Post-Office  Accompts,  is  no 
longer  to  be  borne  with.  The  Deputy  Post- Masters  in  Great 
Britain  account  every  two  Months  with  the  General  Post- 
Office  there ;  and  I  am  obliged  every  half  Year  to  have  the 
Accounts  of  the  General  Post-Office  in  America  made  up. 
But  I  have  not  been  able  to  obtain  any  Account  from  Mr. 
Bradford  of  the  Philadelphia  Office,  from  Midsummer  1734 


notwithstanding  all  the  pressing  Demands  that  the  Comp- 
troller has  been  continually  making  upon  him  for  so  many 
Years  past.  Wherefore  I  now  peremptorily  direct,  that,  upon 
receipt  hereof,  you  commence  suit  against  him,  without  heark- 
ning  any  more  to  his  trifling  Excuses  and  fallacious  Promises. 
If  he  lays  any  Stress  on  the  Reputation  of  a  Man  of  Truth, 
and  Sincerity,  he  must  blush  upon  a  Trial,  before  his  Towns- 
Men,  to  have  his  Letters  produced,  continually  pleading  Sick- 
ness, for  his  not  sending  his  Accompts :  Whereas,  upon  En- 
quiry, I  am  well  assured,  that,  for  these  two  Years  past,  he 
has  appeared  abroad  in  as  good  State  of  Health,  as  ever  he 
used  to  be.  Such  an  Imposition  I  think  ought  not  to  be  passed 
over,  without  some  Mark  of  my  Resentment ;  and  therefore 
I  now  direct,  that  you  no  longer  suffer  to  be  carried  by  the 
Post  any  of  his  News-Papers,  or  Letters  directed  to  him, 
without  his 1  paying  the  Postage  thereof :  Which  you  are  to 
observe,  until  further  Orders  hi  that  Behalf,  from,  Sir, 

"'Your  most  humble  Servant, 

"  Upon  the  receipt  of  this  Letter  it  was,  that  I  absolutely 
refus'd  to  forward  any  more  of  Mr.  Bradford's  Papers  free  by 
Post ;  and  from  that  time  to  this,  he  has  never  offered  me  any 
to  forward.  This  he  cannot  but  Know  to  be  true. 

"  I  must  however  do  Mr.  Bradford  the  Justice,  to  vindicate 
him  from  an  injurious  Suspicion  which  I  apprehend  may 
arise  on  this  Occasion,  to  wit,  That  he  has  impos'd  that  Story 
on  his  unhappy  Writer,  and  misled  him  by  a  wrong  Account 
of  the  Facts  he  might  be  ignorant  of.  —  For  this,  in  my 

1  "  The  Privilege  of  Free-Postage  was  allow'd  Mr.  Bradford,  on  Condition 
of  his  acquitting  himself  fairly  of  the  Office,  and  doing  Justice  to  the  Revenue." 


Opinion  cannot  possibly  be:  Inasmuch  as  that  Person  is 
thoroughly  acquainted  with  the  Affair,  was  employ'd  as 
Attorney  in  the  Action  against  Bradford,  and  had,  at  the  very 
Time  he  was  writing  the  Paragraph  in  Question,  the  Original 
Letter  from  Col.  Spotswood,  in  his  own  Possession. 


Amid  all  controversy  and  against  all  opposition  Franklin 
made  his  way  and  prospered  greatly.  His  newspaper  circu- 
lated in  all  the  colonies.  His  almanac  was  read  by  many 
thousands  more  than  had  ever  read  an  American  book.  The 
official  printing  of  Pennsylvania  and  the  adjacent  provinces 
of  New  Jersey,  Delaware,  and  Maryland  came  to  his  shop. 
He  was  employed  in  printing  the  Pennsylvanian  paper  money 
of  which  he  said  it  was  "a  very  profitable  jobb  and  a  great 
help  to  me."  Isaac  Decow,  the  surveyor-general,  a  shrewd, 
sagacious  man,  foresaw  that  Franklin  would  soon  work 
Keimer  "out  of  business  and  make  a  fortune  in  it  in  Phila- 
delphia." And  this  prophecy  Franklin  quotes  with  approval. 
With  the  disappearance  of  Keimer  no  business  competitor 
remained  but  the  old  one,  Bradford.  When  Franklin  became 
postmaster,  he  remarks  shrewdly  in  his  "Autobiography," 
"My  old  competitor's  newspaper  declin'd  proportionably, 
and  I  was  satisfy'd  without  retaliating  the  refusal,  while 
postmaster,  to  permit  my  papers  being  carried  by  the  riders." 

He  extended  his  business  far  into  the  remoter  and  remotest 
provinces.  It  might  be  said  that  he  established  the  first  of 
those  commercial  "trusts"  which  have  in  later  years  grown 
to  such  towering  and  menacing  proportions.  It  was  his 
practice  to  set  up  a  young  journeyman  in  business,  supplying 
him  with  presses,  types,  books,  and  all  the  necessary  equip- 


ment  of  a  printing-house,  pay  one-third  of  the  expenses  and 
exact  one-third  of  the  profits.  In  this  manner  he  started 
Thomas  Whitemarsch1  and  Peter  Timothy2  in  South  Carolina, 
Smith  and  Benjamin  Mecom  in  Antigua,  James  Parker* 
in  New  York,  Hall  and  Miller  at  Lancaster,  Dunlap  and 
Hall  in  Philadelphia,  his  brother  in  Rhode  Island,  Samuel 
Holland,  at  Lancaster,  Pa.,4  William  Daniell  in  Kingston, 
Jamaica,  and  yet  others  in  New  Haven  and  Georgia. 

While  his  fortunes  grew,  his  habits  of  life  changed  but  little. 
He  looked  disapprovingly  upon  innovations  of  luxury,5  denied 
himself  and  his  family  comforts  to  which  they  were  well 
entitled,  and  went  clothed  from  head  to  foot  in  garments  of 
his  wife's  making. 

In  1748  he  withdrew  from  partnership  with  David  Hall, 
and  fancied  that  he  was  about  to  enjoy  leisurely  the  fruits  of 
his  industry.  It  was  the  year  of  the  peace  of  Aix-la-Chapelle, 
and  every  prospect  for  the  country  and  for  the  world  looked 
fair.  "The  approaching  Peace,"  Franklin  wrote  to  Peter 
Collinson  [October  18,  1748],  "gives  us  a  Prospect  of  being 
more  at  Ease  in  our  Minds." 

1  Thomas   Whitemarsh    founded  the   South    Carolina    Gazette  in   1732. 
Franklin  notes  in   his  journal,  Whitemarsh  "arrived  in  Charlestown  29*  of 
Sept.  1731  at  night,  so  our  Partnership  there  begins  October  i,  1731." 

2  Peter  Timothy  was  the  son  of  Lewis  Timothy,  or  Timothee,  a  French 
refugee.     He  published  the  South  Carolina    Gazette.     He  was  lost  at  sea. 
The  paper  was  carried  on  by  his  son,  Benjamin  Franklin  Timothy  (1792- 

8  Articles  of  Agreement  signed  February  20,  1741. 

4  Samuel  Holland  and  Benjamin  Franklin  signed  an  agreement,  June  14, 
1753.  Franklin  was  to  let  Holland  have  a  printing-press  and  types ;  Hol- 
land was  to  keep  them  in  good  order  and  to  pay  £20  a  year  in  four  instal- 

6  "  The  eyes  of  other  people  are  the  eyes  that  ruin  us."  —  Franklin  to 
Vaughan,  July  26,  1784. 



IT  seemed  possible  for  Franklin  now  to  devote  himself  to 
scientific  pursuits  and  for  his  son  to  exchange  for  the  peaceful 
occupation  of  trade  the  boisterous  career  of  a  soldier.  He 
wrote  to  Mr.  Strahan  that  it  would  not  be  necessary  for  him 
to  send  the  copy  of  Polybius  which  had  been  ordered  of  him  : 
"  It  was  intended  for  my  Son  who  was  then  in  the  Army  and 
seemed  bent  on  a  military  Life,  but  as  Peace  cuts  off  his  Pros- 
pect of  Advancement  in  that  Way  he  will  apply  himself  to  other 
Business."  But  he  was  not  to  enjoy  the  leisure  he  had  hoped 
and  worked  for.  The  public  laid  hold  of  him  for  their  pur- 
poses. In  his  own  words,  "  The  governor  put  me  into  the 
commission  of  the  peace ;  the  corporation  of  the  city  chose 
me  of  the  common  council  and  soon  after  an  alderman ;  and 
the  citizens  at  large  chose  me  a  burgess  to  represent  them 
in  Assembly." 

In  May,  1751,  he  learned  that  Elliot  Benger,  deputy  post- 
master-general of  America,  residing  in  Virginia,  was  thought 
to  be  dying.  Immediately  he  set  his  friends  to  work  to  secure 
for  him  the  reversion  of  the  office.  Mr.  Allen,  the  Chief 
Justice,  wrote  letters  to  England  recommending  him  and  em- 
powering one  of  his  correspondents  to  offer  £300  in  perqui- 
sites and  contingent  fees  and  charges  for  the  office.  Frank- 
lin wrote  promptly  to  Peter  Collinson  saying,  "If  you  can 
without  much  inconvenience  to  yourself  advise  and  assist  in 
endeavouring  to  secure  the  Success  of  this  Application  you 
will  whatever  may  be  the  Event  add  greatly  to  the  Obligations 
you  have  already  conferr'd  on  me,  and  if  it  succeeds  I  hope  that 


as  my  Power  of  doing  Good  increases  my  Inclination  will 
always  at  least  keep  pace  with  it.  I  am  quite  a  Stranger  to 
the  Manner  of  Managing  these  Applications  so  can  offer  no 
particular  Instructions." 

Elliot  Benger  died  in  the  summer  of  1753,  and  on  the  icth 
of  August  following,  the  Postmasters- General  appointed 
"Mr.  Benjamin  Franklin  of  Philadelphia,  hi  Pennsylvania, 
and  Mr.  William  Hunter  of  Williamsburg  in  Virginia,  their 
Deputy  Postmaster  and  Manager  of  all  his  Majesty's  Prov- 
inces and  Dominions  on  the  Continent  of  North  America 
in  the  stead  of  Elliot  Benger  Esq.  deceased,  to  commence  this 
day  at  an  allowance  or  salary  of  £600  per  annum." 

It  was  the  first  occasion  in  the  history  of  the  office  that 
two  postmasters  were  appointed.  The  salary  was  raised 
from  £200  to  j£6oo,  but  it  was  to  be  paid  out  of  "the  money 
arising  from  the  postage  of  letters  passing  and  re-passing 
through  the  said  Provinces  and  Dominions  of  North  America." 
Franklin's  first  official  act  was  to  appoint  his  son  controller 
of  the  post-office.  The  postmastership  of  Philadelphia  he 
gave  first  to  his  son,  then  to  Joseph  Read,  one  of  his  wife's 
relatives,  then  to  his  own  brother.  Indeed,  there  were  few 
of  the  Franklins,  Reads,  and  Folgers  who  did  not  profit  by 
their  thrifty  and  energetic  kinsman's  zeal  for  the  public 
service.  He  looked  after  them  all :  brothers,  and  cousins, 
and  nephews,  and  brothers-in-law  drew  salutary  incomes 
from  public  offices.  It  may  be  true  that  Franklin,  as  he 
says,  never  debated  the  question  of  salary,  but  it  is  quite 
evident  that  he  had  a  wary  eye  for  the  incidental  income 
arising  from  office,  and  was  industrious  in  filling  the  choicer 
seats  with  members  of  his  own  family.  With  his  private  corre- 
spondence before  us  in  which  with  rather  indecent  haste  he 


urges  upon  his  friends  in  England  and  America  to  use  all 
their  influence  to  secure  the  deputy  postmastership  for 
him  while  the  incumbent  of  that  office  lay  dying  in  Virginia, 
it  is  impossible  for  us  to  accept  his  often-repeated  assertion 
that  he  had  never  in  his  life  asked  for  any  public  office.  In 
fact,  the  student  of  Franklin  must,  with  however  much  reluc- 
tance, come  to  the  conclusion  that  was  expressed  by  some 
wicked  wag  who  said  that  Franklin  so  loved  truth  that  he  was 
rather  sparing  in  the  use  of  it. 

The  appointment  to  the  postmastership  marks  the  period 
when  Franklin  began  his  continental  experience.  Until  this 
time  he  had  been  the  thrifty  business  man  and  public-spirited 
citizen  of  Philadelphia.  Now  he  was  to  become  the  American 
unrestricted  by  the  petty  prejudices  and  boundaries  of  small 
provinces.  He  was  the  first  to  transcend  colonial  limitations. 
He  went  abroad  over  the  country  and  took  the  wind  of  all  its 
moods.  In  his  first  tour  of  inspection  he  visited  every  post- 
office  except  Charleston,  infusing  new  vigour  into  the  entire 
system.  He  increased  the  mail  service  between  New  York  and 
Philadelphia  from  once  a  week  in  summer  and  twice  a  month 
in  winter  to  three  times  a  week  in  summer  and  once  a  week  in 
winter.  He  made  the  conveying  of  newspapers  a  source  of 
revenue,  by  compelling  his  post-riders  to  take  all  newspapers 
offered  them  instead  of  those  only  that  were  issued  by  the 
postmasters,  a  privilege  which  he  said  he  regarded  as  unjust 
and  injurious.  For  four  years  he  laboured  at  the  improve- 
ment of  the  service  and  without  reward.  At  the  end  of  that 
time  Franklin  and  Hunter  found  a  deficit  of  £943.  16.  i. 

From  August  10,  1753,  to  August  10,  1756,  the  receipts 
amounted  to  £938.  16.  10,  while  the  disbursements  were 
given  at  ^1617.  4.  o,  showing  a  deficit  of  £678.  7.  2. 


From  August  10, 1756,  to  August  10,  1757,  the  receipts  were 
^1151.  10.  n,  and  the  disbursements  were  ^1416.  19.  10, 
showing  a  further  deficit  of  ^265.  8.  n. 

Soon  after  this  the  improvements  and  the  watchful  intelli- 
gence of  Franklin  began  to  tell,  and  for  the  next  three  years, 
ending  in  August,  1760,  the  surplus  was  ^1221.  7.  6.  The 
receipts  and  disbursements  being  £3368.  18.  6  and  ^2147. 
ii.  o,  respectively.  In  the  following  year  (1761)  there  was  a 
balance  of  £216.  13.  3,  the  receipts  at  £981.  10.  3  again 
exceeding  the  expenses  at  £764.  17.  o. 

Thus  after  eight  years'  work  Franklin  had  the  satisfaction 
of  settling  his  accounts  with  the  Postmasters-General  by 
remitting  ^494.  4.  8.  The  official  record  of  this  act  pre- 
served in  the  General  Post  Office  of  London  reads,  "The 
Deputy  Postmasters  have  already  obeyed  the  Post  Master 
General  by  remitting  £494.  4.  8,  in  full  payment  of  their 
Balance  up  to  the  loth  of  August  1761,  and  this  is  the  first 
remittance  ever  made  of  the  kind" 

Franklin  and  Hunter  had  not  long  had  control  when  war 
broke  out.  There  was  then  no  regular  packet  service.  The 
Secretary  of  State,  Sir  Thomas  Robinson,  issued  an  order  on 
the  Postmasters-General  to  establish  as  early  as  possible  a 
service  of  packet-boats  to  sail  direct  between  Falmouth 
(England)  and  New  York,  and  to  employ  sufficient  vessels 
to  maintain  a  regular  service.  The  order  was  issued  late  in 
September,  1755,  and  the  Postmasters-General  (Lord  Leicester 
and  Sir  Everard  Fawkener)  immediately  complied  with  the 
instructions,  and  in  a  little  over  a  month,  on  the  5th  of  No- 
vember, had  concluded  contracts  for  four  vessels,  of  about 
two  hundred  tons  each,  to  carry  a  crew  of  thirty  men,  with  six 
carriage  guns  mounted  and  four  swivel  guns.  The  pay  was 


£700  for  each  voyage — out  and  home — the  time  for  the 
double  voyage  being  estimated  at  four  months.  The  first 
packet  service  thus  inaugurated  was  maintained  by  the 
packet-ships,  Earl  of  Halifax,  Earl  of  Leicester,  General  Wall, 
and  Harriot. 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  treaty  of  Paris,  February  10,  1763, 
by  which  Canada  and  Florida  were  ceded  to  England,  a 
group  of  British  merchants,  supported  by  Governor- General 
Murray,  urged  the  establishment  of  a  regular  post  between 
New  York  and  Quebec.  The  Postmasters- General  impressed 
upon  Franklin  and  Foxcroft  (who  had  been  appointed  in 
Hunter's  place,  October  2,  1761),  "that  they  cannot  exert 
themselves  on  any  subject  which  will  do  them  greater  service 
than  rendering  the  intercourse  of  letters  every  day  more  and 
more  safe,  expeditious  and  frequent  to  their  fellow-subjects." 
Franklin  and  Foxcroft  undertook  a  survey  of  the  post  routes 
already  in  existence.  Their  journey  occupied  them  for  several 
months.  They  travelled  sixteen  hundred  miles,  and  sub- 
mitted their  report  to  London  early  in  1764,  accompanying 
the  written  statement  with  maps  which  unfortunately  are  no 
longer  in  existence. 

By  this  time  the  excellent  management  of  the  Post-office 
was  producing  unexpected  results.  From  August  10,  1761, 
to  the  beginning  of  1764  the  receipts  were  £3818.  o.  5! .  The 
disbursements  were  £1747.  8.  2^,  leaving  a  surplus  of  £2070. 
12.  3^.  The  Postmasters-General,  surprised  at  the  remit- 
tances, recommended  the  proposals  of  their  deputies  in 
America  to  the  Lords  of  the  Treasury,  saying  that  "the 
Posts  in  America  are  under  the  management  of  persons  of 
acknowledged  ability." 

In  the  "Commission  Book,  1759-1854"  (p.  53),  belong- 


ing  to  the  General  Post  Office,  London,  may  be  seen  the 
renewal  of  Franklin's  commission:  — 

"Know  ye,  that  we,  the  said  William  Earl  of  Bessborough 
and  Thomas,  Lord  Grantham,  reposing  especial  Trust  and 
Confidence  in  Benjamin  Franklin  of  Philadelphia  and  John 
Foxcroft,  of  New  York,  Esquires  and  having  received  good 
Testimony  of  their  Fidelity  and  Loyalty  to  his  Majesty,  and 
of  their  Ability  and  Sufficiency  to  manage  and  better  regulate 
the  Posts  on  the  Continent  of  North  America,  and  of  their 
Inclination  and  Capacity  to  improve  and  advance  His 
Majesty's  Revenues  therein,  do,  by  these  Presents  nominate, 
depute,  constitute,  authorize  and  appoint  them,  the  said  Ben- 
jamin Franklin  and  John  Foxcroft  and  the  survivor  of  them, 
our  Deputy  Postmasters  and  Managers  of  the  Posts  in  all  His 
Majesty's  Provinces  and  Dominions  on  the  said  Continent 
of  North  America,  except  North  Carolina,  South  Carolina, 
Georgia,  East  Florida,  West  Florida,  the  Bahama  Islands,  and 
their  Dependencies  to  have,  hold,  exercise  and  enjoy  the  said 
office  with  all  other  Powers,  Privileges,  Profits,  Advantages 
and  Authorities  thereunto  belonging  unto  them  the  said 
Benjamin  Franklin  and  John  Foxcroft  and  the  survivor  of 
them,  from  the  day  of  the  date  hereof,  for  and  during  the 
term  of  three  years,  or  till  they  receive  a  new  Commission 
from  us,  or  till  this  present  Commission  be  superseded." 
Signed  Sept.  25,  1765,  Bessborough  and  Grantham. 

At  the  time  that  this  commission  was  issued,  Franklin  was 
in  England  and  occupied  with  the  affairs  of  the  Stamp  Act. 
He  continued  to  discharge  his  duties  as  agent  in  London  for 
Georgia,  New  Jersey,  and  Massachusetts,  and  delegated  the 
function  of  postmaster  to  Foxcroft,  his  associate  in  that  office. 
That  this  absentee  administration  of  his  office  was  not  satis- 

VOL.  X  —  N 


factory  to  his  superiors  in  England  is  evident  from  the  follow- 
ing letter  preserved  in  the  General  Post  Office :  — 

June  4,  1768 

Lord  Sandwich  signified  lately  to  the  Duke  of  Grafton  that 
if  there  were  no  good  reasons  for  suffering  Mr.  Franklin  one 
of  the  Deputy  Postmasters  General  of  North  America  remain- 
ing here,  the  Postmasters  General  were  of  opinion  he  ought, 
after  some  years  absence,  to  return  thither  to  his  Duty  and 
having  by  the  last  Packet  Boat  received  a  Letter  from  his 
Colleague  Mr.  Foxcroft  of  which  the  inclosed  is  a  Copy  makes 
it  necessary  to  request  His  Grace's  Pleasure  thereupon.  I 
am  Sir,  etc. 

ANTH.  TODD,  sec'y 

Franklin  continued  to  reside  in  England,  and  after  his 
examination  before  the  Privy  Council  on  the  petition  of  the 
Massachusetts  Assembly  for  the  removal  of  Governor  Hutchin- 
son,  he  was  dismissed  from  office,  January  31,  1774.  At  this 
time  the  American  post-office  was  yielding  three  times  as 
much  clear  revenue  to  the  crown  as  that  of  Ireland.  Some 
bitterness  of  feeling  entered  into  Franklin's  letter  to  Thomas 
Gushing  (February  15,  1774)  announcing  his  dismissal :  "I  re- 
ceived a  written  notice  from  the  secretary  of  the  general  post- 
office,  that  his  Majesty's  postmaster  general  found  it  necessary 
to  dismiss  me  from  my  office  of  deputy  post-master  general 
in  North  America.  The  expression  was  well  chosen,  for  in 
truth  they  were  under  a  necessity  of  doing  it ;  it  was  not  their 
own  inclination ;  they  had  no  fault  to  find  with  my  conduct  in 
the  office ;  they  knew  my  merit  in  it,  and  that  if  it  was  now  an 


office  of  value  it  had  become  such  chiefly  through  my  care 
and  good  management ;  that  it  was  worth  nothing  when  given 
to  me ;  it  would  not  then  pay  the  salary  allowed  me,  and  unless 
it  did  I  was  not  to  expect  it ;  and  that  it  now  produces  near 
three  thousand  pounds  a  year  clear  to  the  treasury  here. 
They  had  beside  a  personal  regard  for  me.  But  as  the  post- 
offices  in  all  the  principal  towns  are  growing  daily  more  and 
more  valuable  by  the  increase  of  correspondence,  the  officers 
being  paid  commissions  instead  of  salaries,  the  ministers 
seem  to  intend,  by  directing  me  to  be  displaced  on  this  occa- 
sion, to  hold  out  to  them  all  an  example,  that  if  they  are  not 
corrupted  by  their  office  to  promote  the  measures  of  adminis- 
tration, though  against  the  interests  and  rights  of  the  colonies, 
they  must  not  expect  to  be  continued." 

He  continued  to  correspond  with  the  General  Post  Office 
with  regard  to  his  accounts.  His  last  letter  was  dated  March 
24,  1776.  It  was  not  until  1783  that  the  Post-office  replied 
to  this  seven-year-old  letter.  I  copy  this  epistolary  curiosity 
from  the  "American  Letter  Book,  1773-1783"  (General 
Post  Office,  London). 

June  25,  1783 

I  must  confess  I  have  taken  a  long  time  to  acknowledge 
the  last  letter  you  were  pleased  to  write  me  the  24th  of  March 
1776  from  New  York. 

I  am  happy  however  to  learn  from  my  nephew  Mr.  George 
Maddison  that  you  enjoy  good  Health  and  that  as  the  French 
were  about  to  establish  five  Packet  Boats  at  L'Orient  for  the 
purpose  of  a  monthly  Correspondence  between  that  Post  and 
New  York  you  were  desirous  of  knowing  the  Intentions  of 
England  on  that  subject.  I  am  going  out  of  Town  for  a 


few  days  and  do  not  write  to  you  quite  officially  at  present  but 
I  can  venture  to  assure  you  it  is  the  wish  of  His  Majesty's 
Post  Master  General  to  continue  the  Communication  with 
New  York  by  the  Packet  Boats  and  that  the  Mails  should  be 
dispatched  both  to  and  from  that  place  the  first  Wednesday 
in  every  Month  as  at  present  and  to  Appoint  an  Agent  to 
reside  at  New  York  for  the  Management  of  the  Business  there. 
If  this  should  meet  your  Ideas  very  little  Regulation  will  be 
necessary  for  carrying  on  the  Correspondence  with  the  United 
States  after  New  York  has  been  evacuated,  as  the  Packet 
Postage  of  one  shilling  for  single  Letters  and  so  in  proportion, 
as  settled  by  Act  of  Parliament  must  be  continued,  but  I 
do  not  know  how  far  it  might  be  of  advantage  to  both  Coun- 
tries to  leave  it,  as  at  present,  to  the  Option  of  the  writer  to  pay 
or  not  the  Postage  beforehand  and  keep  accounts  on  both 
sides  of  the  internal  Postage  up  to  London  and  to  New  York 
and  therefore  I  should  be  glad  to  be  favoured  with  your  Senti- 
ments fully  upon  this  Point,  or  upon  any  other,  not  doubting 
from  my  long  experience  of  your  candour  and  abilities, 
that  everything  will  be  easily  adjusted  to  the  reciprocal 
advantage  of  both  countries.  I  am  dear  sir,  with  the  greatest 
Truth  and  Respect,  your  most  obedient  and  most  humble 



Of  Franklin's  career  in  the  Assembly,  his   part  in   the 

1  An  understanding  of  the  rapid  growth  in  the  business  of  the  Post-office  may 
be  obtained  by  comparing  with  the  figures  quoted  for  1 753-1 764  the  following 
statement  of  account  for  1 768-1 769.  "  Income  of  Post  Office  of  Northern 
Department  of  North  America  as  per  Benjamin  Franklin  and  John  Foxcroft  ; 
From  Oct.  2.  1768  to  March  4,  1769,  ^3285.  10.  6£.  To  charges  of  managing 
Post  Office,  as  per  Benjamin  Franklin  and  John  Foxcroft  to  October  2,  1 769 
£1426.  n.  10." 


making  and  the  adoption  of  the  Albany  Plan  of  Union, 
his  persistent  criticism  of  the  Proprietors,  and  his  generous 
and  effectual  aid  of  Braddock  and  his  army,  sufficient 
has  already  been  said  elsewhere  in  this  work.  (Vol.  I, 
pp.  152-163.) 

His  zeal  and  expedition  hi  obtaining  one  hundred  and  fifty 
wagons  and  two  hundred  and  fifty-nine  pack-horses  for 
Braddock  won  the  warm  approval  of  right-minded  persons 
upon  both  sides  of  the  sea. 

The  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania  gave  him  a  unanimous 
vote  of  thanks,  and  General  Braddock  reported  to  the  Secre- 
tary of  State  (June  5,  1755)  that  Franklin's  prompt  action  was 
"almost  the  only  instance  of  address  and  fidelity  which  I 
have  seen  in  all  these  provinces."  Franklin's  sense  of  the 
gravity  of  the  situation  had  led  him  to  put  in  peril  his  entire 
fortune.  He  not  only  advanced  for  the  expenses  of  the  army 
thirteen  hundred  pounds  of  his  own  money,  but  he  also  gave 
bonds  for  the  safe  return  of  twenty  thousand  pounds'  worth 
of  horses  and  wagons.  Fortunately  Braddock  returned  a 
few  days  before  the  battle  an  order  on  the  paymaster  for  the 
round  sum  of  one  thousand  pounds,  leaving  the  remainder  to 
the  next  account.  "I  consider  this  payment  as  good  luck," 
said  Franklin,  "having  never  been  able  to  obtain  that  re- 

The  owners  of  the  wagons  and  horses  came  upon  him  for 
the  valuation  which  he  had  given  bond  to  pay.  To  pay 
claims,  amounting  to  twenty  thousand  pounds,  would  have 
ruined  him.  After  a  considerable  time  General  Shirley 
appointed  commissioners  to  examine  the  claims  and  to  order 
payment.  At  the  same  time  (September  17,  1755)  he  wrote 
from  Oswego  personally  to  thank  Franklin  for  his  great 


public  service  and  to  express  his  regret  that  payment  had  not 
previously  been  made.1 

When  the  tidings  of  the  disaster  to  Braddock  reached 
Philadelphia,  Franklin  was  at  once  consulted  by  the  governor. 
His  advice  was  that  Colonel  Dunbar  commanding  the  sad 
remnant  of  the  defeated  army  should  post  his  troops  on  the 
frontier  and  check  pursuit  until  reinforcements  could  be 
raised  in  the  colonies.  In  the  midst  of  the  alarm  and  des- 
peration of  the  hour  the  old  party  feud  of  the  Proprietaries 
and  the  Assembly  stood  unchanged  and  uncompromising. 
"The  shocking  news  of  the  strange,  unprecedented,  and 
ignominious  defeat  of  General  Braddock  had  no  more  effect," 
said  William  Franklin,  "upon  Governor  Morris  than  the 
miracles  of  Moses  had  on  the  heart  of  Pharaoh."  The  Assem- 
bly voted  large  sums,  but  decreed  that  all  estates,  real  and 
personal,  were  to  be  taxed,  "those  of  the  proprietaries  not, 
excepted."  The  governor  substituted  only  for  not.  No 
concession  would  be  made  by  either  party.  While  this 
weary,  ineffectual  wrangling  continued  during  the  months  of 
July,  August,  September,  and  October,  the  undefended 
province  was  being  harried  and  plundered.  Families 
were  scalped  and  murdered,  not  only  on  the  frontier, 
but  in  villages  less  than  a  hundred  miles  from  Philadelphia. 

1  Colonel  Henry  Bouquet,  a  British  officer  who  had  played  a  conspicuous  part 
in  the  French  and  Indian  Wars,  and  who  was  on  terms  of  intimate  friendship 
with  Washington,  wrote  to  Franklin  (August  22,  1764)  :  "  I  know  that  General 
Shirley  owed  to  you  the  considerable  supply  of  Provisions  this  Government 
voted  for  his  Troops,  besides  warm  Cloathing,  etc.  That  you  alone  could  and 
did  procure  to  General  Braddock  the  carriages  without  which  he  could 
not  have  proceeded  on  his  Expedition,  That  you  had  a  Road  opened  thro' 
this  Province  to  supply  more  easily  his  Army  with  Provisions,  and  spent  a 
Summer  in  these  different  Services  without  any  other  Reward  than  the  Satis- 
faction of  serving  the  Public." 


Fearful  at  last  that  their  estates  might  be  forfeited,  the  Pro- 
prietaries ordered  five  thousand  pounds  to  be  added  to  any 
sum  that  the  Assembly  might  vote  for  the  purpose  of  defence. 
Thereupon  the  Assembly  voted  in  November  sixty  thousand 
pounds  and  exempted,  but  with  formal  protest,  the  proprietary 
estates,  and  appointed  Franklin  one  of  seven  commissioners 
for  expending  it.  Franklin  devoted  himself  with  energy  to 
persuading  the  factions  to  lay  aside  their  controversies  and  to 
arm  in  the  defence  of  the  colony.  (See  "Dialogue  of  X, 
Y,  and  Z,"  Vol.  I,  p.  162.) 

Robert  Hunter  Morris,  Lieutenant  Governor  and  com- 
mander-in-chief  of  the  Province  of  Pennsylvania  and  counties 
of  Newcastle,  Kent,  and  Sussex,  on  Delaware,  issued  to  him 
the  following  commission:  "I  do  hereby  authorize  and  em- 
power you  to  take  into  your  charge  the  county  of  Northamp- 
ton, to  dismiss  all  persons  who  have  been  commissioned  by 
me  to  any  military  command  and  to  put  others  into  their 
places;  and  to  fill  up  the  blank  commissions  herewith  de- 
livered, with  the  names  of  such  persons  as  you  shall  judge  fit 
for  his  Majesty's  service ;  hereby  ratifying  all  your  acts  and 
proceedings  done  in  virtue  of  this  power ;  and  approving  the 
expenses  accruing  thereupon.  And  I  do  further  order  and 
enjoin  all  officers  and  soldiers  to  yield  obedience  to  you  in  the 
execution  of  this  power,  and  all  magistrates,  sheriffs,  and 
others  in  any  kind  of  civil  authority,  and  all  his  Majesty's 
liege  subjects,  to  be  aiding  and  assisting  you  in  the  premises. 
Given  under  my  hand  and  seal,  at  Reading,  this  5th  day  of 
January  1756." 

Invested  with  this  authority,  Franklin  took  charge  of  the 
Northwestern  frontier,  raised  troops,  and  erected  block- 
houses. January  the  fifteenth  he  started  with  Captain  Foulke 


and  forty-seven  men  to  march  to  Gnadenhiitten,  beyond  the 
mountains,  to  establish  a  fort  there.  For  three  days  they 
proceeded  with  great  order  and  regularity  through  a  continued 
scene  of  horror  and  destruction:  "Where  lately  flourished  a 
happy  and  peaceful  village,  is  now  all  silent  and  desolate ;  the 
Houses  burnt,  the  Inhabitants  butchered  in  the  most  shock- 
ing manner,  their  mangled  Bodies  for  want  of  Funerals  ex- 
pos'd  to  Birds  and  Beasts  of  Prey,  and  all  Kinds  of  Mis- 
chief perpetrated  that  wanton  Cruelty  can  invent.  We  have 
omitted  nothing  since  our  Arrival  that  can  contribute  to  the 
Happiness  and  Security  of  the  Country  in  general.  Mr. 
Franklin  will  at  least  deserve  a  Statue  for  his  Prudence,  Jus- 
tice, Humanity,  and  above  all  for  his  Patience."  l 

The  fort  which  they  built  at  this  place  of  massacre  they 
named  Fort  Allen.  It  stood  where  the  town  of  Wiessport 
now  stands,  in  Carbon  County,  on  the  Lehigh  River,  about 
ten  miles  above  Lehigh  Gap. 

For  almost  a  month  Franklin  remained  in  this  savage 
region,  building  forts  and  hunting  Indians.  He  returned 
when  the  new  Assembly  met  (February,  1756),  and  forthwith 
found  his  time  consumed  by  the  old  and  changeless  quarrel. 
"  I  find, "  he  wrote  to  his  sister, "  the  more  I  seek  for  leisure  and 
retirement  from  business,  the  more  I  am  engaged  in  it." 

The  governor  offered  him  a  general's  commission  if  he 
would  undertake  the  reduction  of  Fort  Duquesne.  He 
declined,  but  accepted  an  appointment  as  "Colonel  of  a 
regiment  of  foot  militia  formed  in,  and  called  the  Regiment 
of  the  city  of  Philadelphia."  (February  24,  1756.) 

Affairs     were    disheartening    and     well-nigh    desperate. 

1  Letter  by  Thomas  Lloyd,  dated  at  Gnadenhiitten,  January  31,  1756  (in 
The  American  Philosophical  Society). 


Oswego  surrendered  to  the  French,  and  the  New  England 
army  collected  at  Lake  George  was  so  wasted  by  disease  and 
desertion  as  to  be  of  little  strength  or  value.  Hundreds  of 
lives  had  been  lost,  farms  were  destroyed,  and  nearly  £100,000 
expended.  The  treasury  was  empty,  the  expenses  excessive, 
and  a  vast  frontier  to  be  defended.  Franklin  believed 
that  the  cheapest  and  most  effectual  defence  would  be  an 
expedition  by  sea  against  Quebec.  But  none  agreed  with  him. 
Fresh  taxes  were  laid  upon  wine  and  liquors,  but  the  governor, 
jealously  guarding  the  Perm  estate,  refused  to  consent  to  it. 
In  the  last  week  of  October,  Franklin  was  ordered  to  attend  the 
new  governor,  William  Denny,1  at  Easton,  in  Northampton 
county,  on  a  treaty  with  the  Delaware  Indians.  William 
Logan  and  Richard  Peters,  on  the  part  of  the  Council,  and 
Joseph  Fox,  William  Masters,  and  John  Hughes,  as  delegates 
from  the  Assembly,  were  the  other  commissioners  who  met 
in  conference  at  the  Forks  of  the  Delaware  upon  November 
the  eighth,  with  Teedyuscung,  king  of  the  Dela wares.  The 
Indians  complained  of  injuries  from  the  proprietor,  and 
Franklin  writing  to  Collinson  gave  his  impression  of  the 
charges:  "It  is  said  by  many  here  that  the  Dela  wares  were 
grossly  abused  in  the  Walking  Purchase;  that  they  have 
frequently  complain'd,  and  their  Complaints  were  suppress'd 
or  conceal'd,  and  the  6  Nations  set  on  their  Backs  to  make 
them  quiet.  That  they  have  remembered  these  things,  and, 
now,  by  the  Connivance  of  the  6  Nations,  as  'tis  thought, 
and  supported  by  the  French,  they  have  taken  Revenge." 
The  governor  laid  before  the  Assembly  an  estimate  of  the 

1  Morris  ceased  to  be  governor,  August  19,  1756,  and  Captain  Denny  ruled 
in  his  stead.  "  Change  of  devils,  according  to  the  Scotch  proverb,  is  blithe- 
some," said  William  Franklin,  when  he  heard  the  news. 


necessary  expense  for  defending  the  province  one  year, 
amounting  to  £12 5,000.  The  Assembly  deducted  the  least 
necessary  articles,  granted  £100,000  and  sent  the  bill  to  the 
governor,  "Not  that  we  thought  this  Province  capable  of 
paying  such  a  Tax  yearly,  or  anything  near  it,  but  believing 
it  necessary  to  exert  ourselves  at  this  time  in  an  extraordinary 
Manner,  to  save  the  Country  from  total  Ruin  by  the  Enemy."  l 
The  governor  rejected  the  bill.  Three-fourths  of  the  troops 
must  be  disbanded,  and  the  country  exposed  to  the  mercy 
of  the  enemy  "rather  than  the  least  tittle  of  a  Proprietary 
Instruction  should  be  deviated  from!" 

The  Assembly  resolved  to  send  home  a  remonstrance, 
and  appointed  Isaac  Norris,  the  Speaker  of  the  House,  and 
Benjamin  Franklin  to  go  to  England  "as  Commissioners  to 
solicit  the  removal  of  grievances  occasioned  by  proprietary 
instructions,"  etc.  Norris  declined  to  serve.  It  was  then 
resolved  "that  Benjamin  Franklin  be  and  he  is  hereby 
appointed  Agent  of  this  Province,  to  solicit  and  transact  the 
Affairs  thereof  in  Great  Britain."  (February  3,  1757.) 

We  are  about  to  enter  upon  a  new  epoch  of  Franklin's  life, 
and  in  taking  leave  of  the  old  it  may  be  worth  while  to  print 
the  record  of  his  six  years  of  service  in  the  General  Assembly. 
This  historical  document  exists,  in  Franklin's  handwriting, 
in  the  Library  of  Congress. 

1  Franklin  to  Robert  Charles,  February  I,  1757. 



Aug.  13.  Takes  his  seat  in  Assembly.  Put  on  a  Committee 
to  prepare  a  Bill,  same  day. 

Aug.  15.      Sent  up  with  a  Message  to  Gov*  J'  H° 

Aug.  17.  On  a  Comm"  to  prepare  an  answer  to  Gov* 

Aug.  20.      Reports  on  the  subject  of  a  Bridge  over  Skuylkill. 

Aug.  22.  Reports  on  the  subject  of  Indian  Expences. 
Seven  Resolutions  N.  C.  D.,  of  his  Drawing, 
upon  that  Report.  Appointed  on  a  Committee 
to  draw  an  address  to  the  Bonrick  [mutilated] 
ing  in  pursuance  of  those  Resolves. 

Aug.  23.      Reported  the  same. 

Aug.  24.      It  was  approved  —  but  not  put  on  the  Minutes. 

Oct.  14.       Return'd  a  Member  for  Philada. 
Sent  on  a  Message  to  the  Gov. 

Oct.  15.  On  the  Committee  of  Ace*1,  and  Comm**  of 
Grievances,  and  Comm**  to  revise  the  Minutes. 

Oct.  16.       On  Committee  of  Correspondence. 


Feb.  3.  On  a  Message  to  the  Governor. 

Feb.  7.  On  Comm**  to  inspect  Accts. 

Feb.  8.  On  D°  to  consider  a  Petition  of  Bakers. 

Feb.  17.  On  D°  for  examining  the  laws  relating  to  fees. 

Feb.  24.  On  D°  for  a  Bill  relating  to  Dogs. 

March  6.  On  D°  to  answer  a  Message. 

March  n.  On  D°  to  see  the  Great  Seal  affixed  to  laws. 


On  D°  to  inquire  into  the  State  of  our  Paper 
Currency,  Trade,  Numbers  of  People,  etc. 

Aug.  13.      On  a  Message  to  the  Gov*  with  the  Bill  of  Fees. 

Aug.  20.      On  a  Committee  for  Conference  with  the  Gov1 

on  that  Bill. 

Makes  report  in  writing  on  the  State  of  Currency 

Aug.  21.      Ordered  to  meet  some  of  the  Council,  etc. 

Aug.  22.      On  a  Message  to  Governor. 

Oct.  14.       Return'd  a  Member  for  Philad*. 
Sent  on  a  Message  to  the  Gov*. 

Oct.  17.  Appointed  on  4  Committees,  viz.,  Grievances, 
Revisal  of  Minutes  [and  ?]  Accounts,  Corre- 
spondence, Laws,  [mutilated]  [wi]  th  the 
Speaker  to  procure  Books  and  Maps.  .  .  . 
Committee  to  bring  in  a  Bill  .  .  .  the  Gov* 
on  the  Navy  Bill  .  .  .  Committee  [pre]pare 
a  Message  ...  of  the  Com6*  of  Grievances. 

May  30.      On  a  Committee  to  consider  the  Representation 

to  the  Proprietaries  of  1751.    And  the  answer 


On  D°  to  prepare  an  Answer  to  Gov*  Message. 
Sept.  i.       On   a    Committee   to    consider    Gov*   propos'd 

Amendmto  to  a  Money  Bill. 
Sept.  4.        On    a    Committee    to     answer    the    Governrs 

Sept.  7.       On  D°  to  report  on  a  Message  from  the  Govr. 

175    [mutilated] 
Sept.  15.      Return'd  again  for  Philad". 



Sent  on  a  Message  to  the  Gov*. 
Sept.  16.      Appointed  on  4  Committees,  viz.  Correspondence, 

Grievances,  Accts,  Revisal  of  Minutes. 
Sept.  17.      On  two  more  Committees,  viz.,  To  inspect  the 

laws;   and  the  State  of  Trade,  Currency,  etc. 


Feb.  5.        Reports  thereupon. 

Feb.  14.       Translates  a  French  Letter  to  Gov*  Dinwiddie. 

Feb.  15.       Reports  on  the  Laws. 

Feb.  26.       On  a  Committee  for  Indian  Trade. 

March  5.     On  D°  for  considering  a  Petition  for  laying  out 


On  D°  for  bringing  in  a  Bill  respecting  the  hold- 
ing of  Courts. 

March  6.     On  D°  to  consider  the  Western  Bounds. 

March  7.     Reports  on  D°. 

April  5.       On  a  Committee  to  bring  in  a  Money  Bill. 

April  8.        Govr  appoints  him  a  Commissioner  for  the  Albany 

April  12.      Approved  by  the  Assembly. 

April  13.      On  a  Committee  to  inquire  into  the  facts  of  a 

April  15.      On  D°  to  answer  a  Message  from  the  Gov*. 

April  18.      A  number  of  Resolves  drawn  up  by  him  and 
agreed  to. 

Aug.  9.        On  a  Committee  to  bring  in  a  Money  Bill. 

Oct.  14.       Return'd  for  Philad". 

Oct.  15.       Appointed  on  Committees  of   Grievances,  and 
Revisal  of   Minutes,   and   Correspondence. 

Dec.  31.      Representation  to  the  Proprietaries,  draw  [muti- 


lated]  .  .  .  Aug*    3  ...  put    on    the    Votes 

...  5  [mutilated] 

March  17.  Takes  his  seat  in  ...  house. 
March  18.  On  a  Committee  to  answer  .  .  .  and  d  .  .  .  the 


March  20.  On  a  Comm*'  to  answer  an  ...  Message. 

Lays  before  the  house  .  .  .  rec'd  from  the  Gov*. 
March  22.  On  a  Comm"  to  bring  hi  a  bill  relating  to  pro- 
visions exported. 
Requested  to  consider  of  establishing  a  Post  for 

General  Braddock. 

April  i.        Memorial  from  Josiah  Quincy  drawn  by  him. 
April  2.       Sundry  Orders  of  his  proposing  and  drawing  to 

supply  N.  England  with  provisions,  etc. 
April  9.        Gives  his  proposal  to  the  House  about  the  post 

which  was  agreed  to. 
May  12.       Receives  the  thanks  of  the  House  for  his  great 

Services  hi  his  late  journey  to  the  back  country, 

May  14.      On  a  Committee  to  prepare  a  state  of  the  Bills. 

On  D°  to  prepare  a  Message  to  the  Gov1. 
May  16.       On  D°  to  answer  another  Message,  and  he  draws 

the  answer. 
June  13.      Communicates  to  the  House  the  letters  of  thanks 

he  had  received  from  Gen.  Sir  Peter  Halkes 

and  Col.  Dunbar. 

June  14.      On  a  Commee  to  answer  a  Message  of  the  Gov*. 
June  17.      On  D°  to  prepare  a  Bill. 
June  17.      On  D°  to  prepare  another  Bill. 


June  24.      On  D°  to  answer  a  Message. 

July  28.       On  D°  to  D°. 

July  29.       On  D°  to  prepare  a  Bill  for  granting  ^50,000  to 

the  King's  use. 
Sent  with  it  to  the  Govr. 

Aug.  5.        On  D°  to  answer  his  Message  of  Amendments. 
Aug.  6.        On  D°  to  answer  a  Message  and  draws  it  —  a 

long  one. 
On  D°  for  a  Bill  to  provide  Quarters  for  the  King's 


Aug.  13.      On  -D°  to  answer  a  long  Message. 
Aug.  21.      On  D°  to  answer  a  Message. 
Aug.  22.      To  dispose  of  money  for  the  defence  of  the 

Sept.  15.      On  D°  to  prepare  a  Bill  for  regulating  Inspectors. 

Sept.  19.      Requested  by  the  House  to  endeavour  to  prevail 

with  Col.  Dunbar  to  discharge  servants  and 


On  a  Committee  to  answer  a  Message. 
Produces  to  the  House  a  letter  to  himself  from 

T.   Hutchison,   which   induces   the   grant   of 

j£i  0,000  to  Massachusetts. 
Sept.  17.      Retum'd  for  Philad'. 

Sent  with  verbal  Message  to  Gov*. 

On  4  Committees :  Correspondence,  Grievances, 

Minutes,  Laws. 

On  D°  to  bring  in  a  Money  Bill  ^60,000. 
On  D°  to  prepare  Bill  for  supplying  our  Indians. 
On  D°  to  answer  a  Message. 
Nov.  10.      On  a  Co.  [mutilated]  answer  a  Message. 


Nov.  13.      On  D°  [mutilated]  .  .  .  sides  two  applications 

to  the  House  from  Quakers  and  from  the  Mayor 

of  Philada.  etc. 

Nov.  17.      On  D°  to  answer  a  Message. 
Nov.  19.      B.  .  .  .     Leave  .  .  .  brings  in  a  Militia  Bill. 

On  a  Committee  to  answer  a  Message. 
Nov.  20.      On  a  Committee  to  amend  the  Militia  Bill. 
Nov.  22.      On  D°  to  consider  Gov™  message. 
Nov.  25.      On  D°  to  bring  in  a  Money  Bill  exempting  the 

Proprie7.  Estate  in  consideration  of  their  gift 

of  £5,000. 

Nov.  29.      On  D°  to  answer  a  message. 
Dec.  3.        On  D°  to  answer  a  message. 

Feb.  I  still  on  the  Frontiers  building  forts. 

Feb.  7.         On   Commee   to   prepare   an  Address   to   Gov* 
respecting  the  enlistment  of  Servants  and  draws 
Feb.  19.       Lays  before  the  house  letters  to  him  from  Gen. 


On  a  Commee  to  answer  a  Message. 
March  3.     Brings  in  a  Bill  by  leave  of  the  House  to  Regulate 

soldiers,  etc. 

March  5.     Watch  and  Lamp  Bill  brought  in. 
March  10.   On  Committee  to  amend  Soldiers'  Bill. 
March  13.   Moves  the  House  again  on  this  Bill. 

On  Commee  for  that  purpose. 
March  17.  Sent  with  the  Bill  to  the  Gov1. 

Goes  to  Virginia. 
May  12.       On  Commee  to  answer  a  Message. 


June  2.        On  D°  to  D°. 

July  22.       Then  at  N.  York,  charg'd  with  an  address  to 

Gen1  Shirley,  going  to  England. 

Aug.  17.      On  Commee  to  bring  hi  a  Bill  granting  £40,000. 
Aug.  20.      W.  M.  Denny,  Govr. 

Aug.  21.      On  Commee  to  prepare  address  to  the  Governor. 
Aug.  30.      On  D°  to  prepare  Answers  to  Govrs.  Speech  and 


Sept.  i.        On  a  Message  to  the  Governor. 
Sept.  3.        Draws  a  long  Paper  of  Remarks  on  Prop7  In- 
Sept.  8.        Appointed    a    Commissioner    in    the  Act  .  .  . 

Sept.  13.      On  a  Comm '  to  prepare  reasons  in  answer  .  .  . 

to  the  Bill. 
Sept.  16.      Draws  Resolutions  relating  .  .  . 

On  Cornm**  to  prepare  a  new  B.  .  .  .  D°  to 

D°  .  .  .  up  with  the  £30,000  Bi  .  .  . 
Oct.  14.       Return'd  for  Philada. 
Oct.  18.       Order    on     3     Committees:      Correspondence, 

Grievances,  Minutes. 
Oct.  21.       On  D°  for  preparing  a  Bill  to  regulate  the  hire 

of  carriages. 

Oct.  22.       On  D°  for  D°  —  Billeting  of  soldiers. 
Oct.  26.       On  D°  to  confer  with  Govr  about  Indians. 
Oct.  27.       With  leave  brings  hi  a  Bill  to  regulate  forces  of 

this  Province. 
Oct.  28.       As  President  of  the  Hospital  lays  before  the  House 

the  Ace4*  thereof. 

On  a  Committee  to  prepare  another  Militia  Bill. 
Oct.  29.       On  D°  to  answer  Gov*  Message. 

VOL.  X  —  O 


Nov.  5.        On  D°  to  compare  Bills. 

On  D°  to  accompany  the  Governor  to  treat  with 
Indians  [at]  Easton. 

Nov.  23.      On  D°  to  prepare  a  Message  to  the  Govr. 

Dec.  2.        On  D°  to  examine  Journals  of  House  of  Com- 
mons concerning  Elections. 

Dec.  3.        Reports  on  the  same. 

Dec.  8.        On  a  Commee  to  prepare  answer  to  Govr's  Message. 

Dec.  16.      On  D°  to  D°  Message  concerning  Quarters. 

Dec.  18.       On  D°  to  D°. 

Dec.  19.       On  D°  to  confer  with  the  Gov*. 

Dec.  22.      On  D°  to  answer  a  message  abt  Quarters. 

Dec.  24.  On  D°  to  prepare  a  Bill  for  granting  £100,000 
by  Tax. 


Jan.  ii.       On  D°  to  prepare  a  Bill  to  relieve  Inn-Keepers. 

Jan.  24.  On  D°  to  prepare  a  Bill  to  strike  a  sum  of  Pap. 

Jan.  28.       On  D°  to  wait  on  the  Govr  with  a  Message. 

Jan.  29.       Reports  concerning  the  Treaty  at  Easton. 
Is  nominated  to  go  to  England. 

Feb.  i.  On  a  Committee  to  prepare  a  new  Bill  for  grant- 
ing £100,000. 

Feb.  3.        Accepts  the  appointment  to  England. 
Appointed  Agent. 

Feb.  7.         On  a  Commee  to  answer  a  Message. 

Feb.  12.       On  D°  to  D°. 

March  22.  Gov*  agrees  to  pass  the  Bill  for  £100,000.  This 
was  after  B.  F.'s  conference  with  him  and  Ld 



Feb.  21.       Proprietaries'  message  to  the  Assembly  repre- 
senting Mr.  F.  as  not  a  person  of  Candour,  etc. 
His  heads  of  Complaint. 
Answer  thereto  by  Paris. 

...  27.     Supply  ...  B  ...  for   £100,000   Taxing   the 
P'y  Estate  passe  .  .  .  [mutilated]  by  Gov  .  .  . 
Return*  .  .  .  Philada  .  .  . 


Oct.  14.       Retd  for  Philada. 

Oct.  15.       Continu'd  Agent  with  R.  Charles. 

Oct.  18.  Governor  Hamilton  refuses  to  certify  the  Assem- 
bly's appointment  of  Franklin  and  Charles 
as  Agents,  etc. 

The  Assembly  order  a  Certificate  from  a  Notary 
and  appoint  a  Committee  to  consider  the 
Govr's  refusal,  etc.  And  order  the  Grant  of 

the  Crown  to  be  receiv'd  by  B.  F.  and 

lodg'd  in  the  Bank  in  several  names. 


Sept.  19.  Bills  ordered  to  be  drawn  on  B.  F.  for  the 
amount  of  the  Parliamentary  Grant. 


May  6.  Several  letters  of  different  dates  received  from 

Sept.  21.  D°  .  .  .  informing  that  he  had  taken  his  pas- 
sage, and  left  the  affairs  of  the  Province  with 
Mr.  Jackson. 


Oct.  15.        Return'd  again,  as  in  all  the  preceding  years,  a 
member  from  Philada. 


Jan.  10.      In  the  House  again,  and  on  a  Committee. 
Jan.  12.       On  another. 
Jan.  14.       On  another  and  another. 
Jan.  1  8.       Engagement  of  B.  F.  and  R.  C.  recited. 
Jan.  21.       On  a  Committee  to  prepare  a  Bill. 
Jan.  28.       On  a  D°  for  another  Bill  and  another. 
Feb.  8.        On  a  Committee  for  another  Bill. 
Feb.  19.      Report  on  his  Accounts  and  thanks  order'd. 
March  4.     Balance   of   his  Acct.   order'd   to   be   paid  — 

^2214.  10.  o. 

March  29.   On  a  Committee  for  a  Bill. 
March  31.  Thanks   given   him   by   the    Speaker   in  ... 

form,  and  answer  .  .  . 
Apr.  P.        [mutilated]  On  a  Comm  .  .  .  etc.  to  ansr  .  .  . 

propose  .  .  .  Bill. 



FRANKLIN'S  "Autobiography  "  ends  with  his  arrival  in  Lon- 
don, July  26,  1757.  For  twenty-seven  years  he  had  lived 
happily  with  his  wife  and  little  family  in  Philadelphia  ;  the 
next  twenty-eight  years,  with  the  exception  of  two  brief 
visits  to  America,  were  destined  to  be  spent  in  Europe. 
He  recommended  his  daughter  to  her  mother  "with  a 


father's  tenderest  concern,"  and  accompanied  by  his  son 
and  attended  by  a  company  of  friends  rode  away  across 
New  Jersey. 

A  long  and  tedious  delay  in  New  York  waiting  upon  the 
dilatory  Lord  Loudon  was  followed  by  a  thirty  days'  sail 
across  the  Atlantic,  a  narrow  escape  from  shipwreck  upon 
the  Cornish  coast,  and  a  safe  anchorage  in  Falmouth 

Peter  Collinson  was  eagerly  awaiting  him  in  London. 
James  Ralph,  who  had  started  a  newspaper,  the  Protestor, 
to  help  the  Duke  of  Bedford  against  the  Duke  of  Newcastle, 
called  to  renew  a  friendship  that  had  been  interrupted  for 
thirty  years.  Men  of  science  hastened  to  make  acquaintance 
with  the  philosopher  whose  name  was  mentioned  with  respect 
in  every  part  of  Europe.  He  had  an  assured  position  and 
was  already  a  member  of  influential  societies.  He  had  been 
elected  to  the  Royal  Society,  and  only  a  few  weeks  before 
leaving  home  had  received  from  Collinson  the  agreeable  in- 
formation of  that  honour.  It  followed  close  upon  the  an- 
nouncement by  William  Shipley  that  he  had  been  elected  to  the 
Premium  Society,  or  Society  for  the  Encouragement  of  Arts, 
Manufactures  and  Commerce,  now  known  as  the  Society  of 
Arts.1  Franklin's  "Plan  for  promoting  useful  knowledge 
among  the  British  Plantations  in  America"  had  interested 
Shipley,  who  hoped  to  see  Great  Britain  and  the  Colonies 
"mutually  dear  and  serviceable  to  each  other."  He  wrote 
to  Franklin,  September  30,  1755,  inviting  him  to  join  the 
Society.  Franklin  replied  in  the  following  letter  for  which  I 
am  indebted  to  Mr.  H.  B.  Wheatley,  secretary  of  the  Society 
of  Arts. 

1  William  Shipley's  letter  is  dated  September  i,  1756  (A.  P.  S.). 


Philad*  Nov.  27,  1755. 

I  have  just  received  your  very  obliging  Favour  of  the  i3th 
September  last ;  and  as  this  Ship  sails  immediately  have  little 
more  time  than  to  thank  you  cordially  for  communicating  to 
me  the  Papers  relating  to  your  most  laudable  undertaking, 
and  to  assure  you  that  I  should  esteem  the  being  admitted 
into  such  a  Society  as  a  corresponding  Member  a  very  great 
Honour,  which  I  should  be  glad  I  could  in  the  least  deserve, 
by  promoting  in  any  Degree  so  useful  an  Institution.  But 
tho'  you  do  not  require  your  Correspondents  to  bear  any  Part 
of  your  Expence,  you  will  I  hope  permit  me  to  throw  my  Mite 
into  your  Fund,  and  accept  of  20  guineas  I  purpose  to  send 
you  shortly  to  be  apply'd  in  Premiums  for  some  Improve- 
ment in  Britain,  as  a  grateful,  tho'  small,  Return  for  your 
most  kind  and  generous  Intentions  of  Encouraging  Improve- 
ments in  America.  I  flatter  myself  from  that  part  of  your 
Plan,  that  those  jealousies  of  her  Colonies,  which  were 
formerly  entertained  by  the  Mother  Country,  begin  to  sub- 
side. I  once  wrote  a  little  Paper  tending  to  show  that  such 
Jealousies  with  Regard  to  Manufactures  were  ill-founded. 
It  was  lately  printed  in  Boston  at  the  End  of  a  Pamphlet 
which  I  take  the  liberty  to  send  you.  Never  be  discouraged 
by  any  Apprehension  that  Arts  are  come  to  such  Perfection 
in  England  as  to  be  incapable  of  farther  Improvement. 
As  yet,  the  quantity  of  Human  Knowledge  bears  no  Propor- 
tion to  the  Quantity  of  Human  Ignorance.  The  Improve- 
ments made  within  these  2000  years,  considerable  as  they  are, 
would  have  been  much  more  so  if  the  Ancients  had  possessed 
one  or  two  Arts  now  in  common  Use.  I  mean  those  of  Copper 
Plate=  and  Letter=Printing.  Whatever  is  now  exactly 


delineated  and  described  by  those,  can  scarcely  (from  the 
Multitude  of  Copies)  be  lost  to  Posterity.  And  the  knowledge 
of  small  Matters  being  preserv'd  gives  the  Hint,  and  is  some- 
times the  Occasion  of  Great  Discoveries,  perhaps  Ages  after. 

The  French  War,  which  came  on  in  1744,  took  off  our 
Thoughts  from  the  Prosecution  of  my  Proposal  for  Promot- 
ing useful  Knowledge  in  America ;  and  I  have  ever  since  the 
Peace  been  so  engag'd  in  other  Schemes  of  various  kinds  and 
in  publick  affairs,  as  not  to  find  Leisure  to  revive  that  useful 
and  very  practical  Project.  But  if  I  live  to  see  our  present 
Disturbances  over  hi  this  Part  of  the  World,  I  shall  apply 
myself  to  it  with  fresh  Spirit,  as  beside  the  good  that  may  be 
done,  I  hope  to  make  myself  thereby  a  more  valuable  Corre- 

You  will  greatly  oblige  me  by  the  Communication  of  the 
Inventions  and  Improvements  you  mention.  And  as  it  is  a 
Maxim  in  Commerce,  That  there  is  no  Trade  without  Re- 
turns, I  shall  be  always  endeavouring  to  ballance  Accounts 
with  you,  tho'  probably  never  able  to  accomplish  it. 

I  am,  Sir 

Your  most  obedient 
humble  servant,  B.  FRANKLIN. 


He  was  gratified  and  elated  by  the  recognition  of  his 
scientific  achievements,  but  he  was  not  unmindful  of  the 
associations  of  an  earlier  day  of  humbler  things.  He  went  to 
the  old  printing-house  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields  and  sought 
out  the  men  who  worked  upon  the  press  at  which  he  had 
stood  in  his  young  manhood,  and  treated  them  to  a  gallon  of 
beer  which  they  drank  to  the  toast  "Success  to  Printing." 


He  took  lodgings  at  No.  7,  Craven  Street,  Strand. 
His  landlady,  Mrs.  Margaret  Stevenson,  became  one  of  his 
dearest  friends.  To  her  daughter,  afterward  the  wife  of  the 
famous  surgeon  Dr.  Thomas  Hewson,  he  wrote  some  of  the 
most  interesting  letters  of  his  life.  He  instructed  her  in 
science  and  advised  her  in  all  her  difficulties.  With  Mrs. 
Stevenson  the  affectionate  intimacy  continued  until  her  death 
a  quarter  of  a  century  after  their  first  acquaintance.  Upon 
the  last  letter  that  he  received  from  her,  dated  July  24,  1782, 
he  wrote :  "This  good  woman,  my  dear  Friend,  died  the  first 
of  January  following.  She  was  about  my  age."  l 

In  the  Craven  Street  house  he  lived  in  much  comfort, 
occupying  four  rooms  and  waited  upon  by  his  man-servant 
and  William  Franklin's  negro  attendant.  His  son  was  soon 
entered  at  the  Middle  Temple,  and  Franklin  was  free  to 
devote  himself  to  the  business  of  the  Assembly.  He  made 
slow  progress.  The  Proprietors  quibbled  and  evaded,  and 
placed  every  obstruction  in  his  way  that  legal  ingenuity  could 
contrive.  He  changed  his  tactics;  ceasing  to  visit  the  Pro- 
prietaries, he  attempted  to  win  the  favour  of  the  Lords  of 
Trade  and  the  members  of  the  King's  Council,  and  to  com- 
bat certain  prejudices  that  existed  in  the  minds  of  English- 
men concerning  the  colonists.  It  may  have  been  in  conse- 
quence of  advice  of  this  kind  given  by  Mr.  Charles,  a  lawyer 
retained  by  the  Assembly,  that,  in  1759,  a  voluminous  work 
appeared,  entitled  "An  Historical  Review  of  the  Constitution 
and  Government  of  Pennsylvania,  from  its  Origin."  It  was 
published  anonymously,  but  suspicion  was  immediately 
directed  to  Franklin  as  its  author.  He  sent  five  hundred 
copies  of  it  to  David  Hall  for  distribution  in  Pennsylvania, 

1  Letter  in  University  of  Pennsylvania. 


and  twenty-five  copies  to  his  nephew,  Mecom,  in  Boston, 
and  the  same  number  to  James  Parker,  his  former  Partner, 
in  New  York. 

While  the  volume  was  silently  influencing  the  public 
opinion  of  England,  Franklin  was  enjoying  something  like 
leisure.  He  resumed  scientific  studies  and  continued  his 
correspondence  with  the  learned  men  of  Europe.  Fresh 
recognition  of  his  contributions  to  science  came  to  him  from 
Scotland,  when  in  February,  1759,  the  University  of  St. 
Andrews  conferred  upon  him  the  honorary  degree  by  virtue 
of  which  he  was  ever  after  known  as  Dr.  Franklin.  In  the 
records  of  the  Senatus  Academicus  of  that  University  occurs 
this  entry :  — 

"  12,  Feb.  1759 

"  Conferred  the  Degree  of  Doctor  hi  Laws  on  Mr.  Benjamin 
Franklin,  famous  for  his  writings  on  Electricity,  and  appoint 
his  diploma  to  be  given  to  him  gratis,  the  Clerk  and  Arch- 
beadle's  dues  to  be  paid  by  the  Library  Quaestor."  l 

-     \.c\r\'S    n'l    -'•••       IM   f  ''i     ni   «M>Llr 

In  the  late  summer  of  1759  he  journeyed  to  Scotland,  and 
for  the  first  time  visited  Edinburgh:  "that  garret  of  the 
earth  —  that  knuckle-end  of  England  —  that  land  of  Calvin, 
oat  cakes  and  sulphur,"  as  Sydney  Smith  described  it.  Great 
honour  was  done  him.  The  Universities  entertained  him, 
and  the  corporation  of  Edinburgh  conferred  upon  him  the 
freedom  of  the  city.  He  was  invited  to  the  great  houses  of 
the  country.  Hume,  Robertson,  Lord  Kames,  and  Sir 

1  In  the  library  of  the  University  are  still  to  be  seen  two  books  presented 
by  Dr.  Franklin:  one  is  "New  Experiments  and  Observations,"  1754,  "Dono 
dedit  Auctor  " ;  the  other,  "  Experiments  and  Observations,"  1 769,  "  Ex  dono 
Auctoris."  The  first  volume  of  Transactions  of  The  American  Philosophical 
Society,  presented  by  Franklin,  May  19,  1773, 1  am  told,  cannot  now  be  traced 
in  the  library. 


Alexander  Dick  were  particularly  prominent  in  their  hospi- 
tality. He  was  delighted  with  his  entertainment  and  de- 
clared to  Lord  Kames  that  he  had  spent  in  Scotland  "six 
weeks  of  the  densest 1  happiness  I  have  met  with  in  any  part 
of  my  life."  After  completing  a  tour  of  fifteen  hundred  miles, 
ending  with  a  ramble  through  Yorkshire  and  Lincolnshire  he 
wrote  to  Sir  Alexander  Dick :  "  No  part  of  our  Journey  affords 
us,  on  Recollection,  a  more  pleasing  Remembrance  than  that 
which  relates  to  Scotland,  particularly  the  time  we  so  agreably 
spent  with  you,  your  Friends  &  Family.  The  many  Civilities, 
Favours  and  Kindnesses  heap'd  upon  us  while  we  were 
among  you,  have  made  the  most  lasting  Impression  on  our 
Minds,  and  have  endear'd  that  Country  to  us  beyond  Ex- 

Unfortunately,  very  slight  record  remains  of  the  social 
entertainments  and  conversation  of  that  visit.  Alexander 
Carlyle  notes  in  his  Autobiography  that  he  and  his  friend, 
Dr.  Wight,  met  "the  celebrated  Dr.  Franklin"  at  Dr. 
Robertson's  house  in  Fxlinburgh  in  September,  1759.  "Dr. 
Franklin  had  his  son  with  him;  and  besides  Wight  and  me 
there  were  David  Hume,  Dr.  Cullen,  Adam  Smith,  and  two 
or  three  more.  .  .  .  Franklin's  son  was  open  and  communi- 
cative, and  pleased  the  company  better  than  his  father,  and 
some  of  us  observed  indications  of  that  decided  difference  of 
opinion  between  father  and  son  which  in  the  American  war 
alienated  them  altogether."  * 

Could  it  have  been  Franklin's  notable  dislike  for  con- 

1  Sydney  Smith,  dwelling  "  amid  odious-smells,  barbarous  sounds,  bad  sup- 
pers, excellent  hearts  and  most  enlightened  understandings,"  would  surely 
have  cut  a  caper  had  he  happened  upon  this  felicitous  and  subtly  descriptive 

*  Carlyle,  "  Autobiography,"  p.  320.     Boston  edition,  1861. 


troversy  that  held  him  silent  in  the  company  of  these  native 
metaphysicians,  born  to  argument  and  bred  in  polemics? 
Disputation  is  the  business  of  lawyers,  and  the  habit  of  men 
of  all  sorts  who  have  been  educated  at  the  University  of 
Edinburgh,  said  Franklin. 

The  younger  Franklin,  "a  born  courtier"  as  his  father 
said  of  him,  seems  to  have  made  upon  all  those  who  met 
him  socially  an  impression  similar  to  that  described  by 
Carlyle.  To  Strahan  he  appeared  "one  of  the  prettiest 
young  gentlemen"  he  ever  knew  from  America,  —  "He 
seems  to  me  to  have  a  solidity  of  judgment,  not  very  often  to 
be  met  with  in  one  of  his  years."  More  than  a  half  century 
later  Crabbe  Robinson  met  him  at  the  Society  of  the  Attic 
Chest.  No  one  had  a  more  expert  eye  for  the  good  points 
and  the  social  defects  of  a  man  than  Crabbe  Robinson,  and 
he  entered  in  his  Diary,  "Old  General  Franklin,  son  of  the 
celebrated  Benjamin  was  of  the  party.  He  is  eighty-four 
years  of  age,  has  a  courtier-like  mien  and  must  have  been  a 
very  fine  man.  He  is  now  very  animated  and  interesting, 
but  does  not  at  all  answer  to  the  idea  one  would  naturally 
form  of  the  son  of  the  great  Franklin."  * 

It  is  repeated  in  nearly  every  account  of  Franklin's  life, 
that  he  received  a  degree  from  the  University  of  Edinburgh. 
It  is  an  error.  He  was  admitted  as  a  "  Surges  and  Gildbrother 
of  Edinburgh"  (September  5,  1759),  anc^  ne  was  an  original 

1  Crabbe  Robinson,  "Diary,"  I,  p.  242.     Boston,  1898. 

The  Society  of  the  Attic  Chest  was  a  small  society,  the  members  of  which 
sent  verses  which  were  put  in  a  box  and  furnished  an  evening's  amusement. 
The  box  was  actually  made  in  Athens.  The  date  of  this  meeting  was 
March  18,  1812.  Franklin  died  in  November  of  the  following  year. 

After  leaving  Edinburgh,  Dr.  Franklin  travelled  to  Dunkeld,  Perth,  and  St. 
Andrews  in  company  with  John  Anderson,  Professor  of  Natural  Philosophy  at 


Honorary  Fellow  of  the  Royal  Society  of  Edinburgh  and  of 
the  Philosophical  Society  which  was  absorbed  in  the  Royal 
Society  at  the  date  of  its  foundation  in  1782,  but  he  received 
no  academic  honours  from  the  University.  It  is  not  a  little 
singular  that  it  should  be  so.  At  the  time  of  Franklin's  first 
visit  Dr.  Robertson,  the  head  of  the  University,  was  the 
centre  of  the  literary  and  social  life  of  the  city.  He  enter- 
tained for  Franklin  feelings  of  the  highest  respect,  and  in 
later  years  came  into  the  closer  relations  of  friendship  with 
him.  Franklin  occasionally  recommended  American  scholars 
as  worthy  candidates  for  the  honorary  degree.  Ezra  Stiles's 
diploma  of  Doctor  of  Divinity  was  procured  from  Edinburgh 
University  in  1765  through  Franklin's  exertions.  He  success- 
fully recommended  Professor  Winthrop,  the  Hollisian  Pro- 
fessor of  Harvard,  after  he  had  been  rejected  by  Oxford  be- 
cause he  was  a  Dissenter.  In  the  Literary  Diary  of  Ezra  Stiles 
under  the  date  December  4, 1772,  occurs  the  entry,  "  Finished 
reading  Mr.  Marchant's  Travels  and  Memoirs  in  six  books 
Mss.  Dr.  Benjamin  Franklin  was  with  Mr.  Marchant  at 
Edinburgh,  and  politely  offered  to  recommend  him  to  the 
University  of  Edinburgh  for  the  degree  of  Doctorate  in 
Laws;  but  he  declined  it."1 
Among  the  Franklin  papers  in  The  American  Philo- 

1  "The  Literary  Diary  of  Ezra  Stiles,  D.D.,  LL.D.,"  by  F.  B.  Dexter,  N.Y. 
1901,  Vol.  I,  p.  304.  Dr.  Stiles  proceeds  to  quote  from  Mr.  Marchant's  manu- 
script thus:  "Monday  November  4,  1771  [returned  to  Edinburgh]  Dr.  Frank- 
lin came  in  to  see  me,  and  by  a  most  open  disengaged  Frankness  in  his 
conversation  afforded  me  much  pleasure.  And  made  me  a  most  genteel 
Tender  of  honourably  recommending  me  to  the  Edinburgh  University."  A 
further  entry  under  date  of  November  20,  1771,  states,  "Dined  at  Dr.  Fergu- 
son's, Professor  of  Moral  Philosophy,  in  company  with  D.  Hume,  Dr.  Frank- 
lin, Dr.  Black,  and  Dr.  Russel  [Professor  of  Natural  Philosophy],  and  next 
day  Dr.  Franklin  took  leave  and  departed  for  London." 


sophical    Society  is    the    following  letter  to  Franklin   from 
Dr.  Robertson:  — 

College  of  Edinbro 


I  was  favoured  with  your  letter  of  the  26th  recommending 
Mr.  Rogers  of  New  York  to  a  degree  in  Divinity.  I  hope 
that  I  need  not  say  that  every  request  from  you,  has  with 
me  the  authority  of  a  command,  because  I  am  sure  you  will 
recommend  no  person  who  is  not  entitled  to  that  mark  of  our 
respect  which  you  sollicit  for  him.  On  this  occasion  I  have 
not  the  entire  merit  of  confiding  in  your  testimony.  Mr. 
Rogers's  character  was  known  to  some  Gentlemen  here  and 
their  account  of  him  fully  confirms  every  thing  that  you  have 
said  in  his  favour.  The  degree  of  D.D.  is  accordingly  con- 
ferred upon  him.  His  diploma  is  ordered  to  be  made  out, 
and  shall  be  sent  by  the  first  person  I  can  find  to  take  charge 
of  it.  I  have  drawn  upon  you  by  this  post  for  £12.  7.  6.  I 
have  time  to  add  no  more  as  the  post  is  going  but  that  I  am 
with  great  respect  and  attachment,  Dear  Sir, 

Your  most  faithfull  humble  Servant 

The  highest  literary  honour  ever  conferred  upon  Franklin 
was  the  honorary  degree  of  Doctor  of  Civil  Laws  from  the 
University  of  Oxford.  In  the  records  of  the  University  is 
found  the  following  note :  — 

"  Feb.  22,  1762  Agreed,  nem  con.  at  a  meeting  of  the 
Heads  of  Houses  that  Mr.  Franklin  whenever  he  shall  please 
to  visit  the  University  shall  be  offer'd  the  Compliment  of  the 
Degree  of  D.C.L.  Honoris  causa. 

"J.  BROWNE  Vice  can." 


At  the  convocation  of  April  30,  1762,  he  was  admitted  a 
D.C.L.  In  the  indisposition  or  absence  of  the  Regius  Pro- 
fessor of  Civil  Law,  Thomas  Jenner,  D.C.L.,  Franklin  was 
duly  introduced  by  the  Deputy,  William  Seward.  As  an 
additional  compliment  his  son  was  presented  by  the  Public 
Orator  for  the  honorary  M.A.  The  notable  and  interesting 
fact  of  father  and  son  receiving  the  higher  and  lower  degrees 
together,  Dr.  Murray  thinks  is  "almost  without  parallel  in 
the  history  of  Oxford."  *  The  lover  of  academic  Latin  will 
pardon  me  for  quoting  at  this  point  the  record  of  the  ceremony 
taken  from  a  certified  copy  made  by  the  Keeper  of  the 

"  Paschatis    Dno  Dre  Browne  Vice  Cancellario 


"  Die  Ven.  viz  Tricesimo  Die  Mensis  Aprilis  Anno  Dom. 
1762  Causa  Convocationis  erat  ut  Ornatissimus  Vir  Ben- 
jaminus  Franklin  Armiger,  Provinciae  Pensylvaniae  Deputa- 
tus,  ad  Curiam  Serenissimi  Regis  Legatus,  Tabellariorum 
per  Americam  Septentrionalem  Praefectus  Generalis,  necnon 
Regiae  Societatis  Socius  (si  ita  Venerabili  Ccetui  placeret)  ad 
Gradum  Doctoris  hi  Jure  Civili,  et  Gulielmus  Franklin 
Armiger  Juris  Municipals  Consultus  ad  Gradum  Magistri 
in  Artibus  admitterentur,  necnon,  &c.  &c.  [the  usual  clause 
to  admit  of  any  other  business].  Causa  Convocationis  sic 
indicta,  proponente  singillatim  Domino  Vice -Cancellario, 
placuit  VenerabiU  Ccetui  ut  praedictus  Ornatissimus  Vir 

1  "  Franklin's  Oxford  Degree,"  by  J.  A.  H.  Murray,  The  Nation,  Novem- 
ber 19,  1903. 

The  fullest  information  about  Franklin's  honorary  degrees  is  to  be  found 
in  "  Historic  Side-lights,"  E.  P.  Arnold. 


Benjaminus  Franklin  Armiger  ad  Gradum  Doctoris  in  Jure 
Civili,  et  Gulielmus  Franklin  Armiger  ad  Gradum  Magistri 
in  Artibus,  Honoris  Causa  admitterentur. 

" Spectatissimum  Virum  Benjaminum  Franklin  Armigerum 
praeeuntibus  Bedellis  in  Domum  Convocations  ingressum 
Dextraque  prehensum  Dnus  Df  Seward  Collegii  Divi  Joannis 
Baptistae  Socius  sub  eleganti  Orationis  Formula  Dno  Vice- 
Cancellario  et  Procuratoribus  praesentabat  ut  ad  Gradum 
Doctoris  in  Jure  Civili  Honoris  Causa  admitteretur.  Quem- 
que  hoc  modo  praesentatum  Dnus  Vice-Cancellarius  sua  et 
totius  Universitatis  authoritate  ad  dictum  Gradum  Honoris 
Causa  solemniter  admisit. 

"  Ornatissimum  Juvenem  Gulielmum  Franklin  Armigerum 
a  Th6ma  Nowel  A.M.  Collegii  Orielensis  Socio  et  Publico 
Oratore  similiter  praesentatum  Dnus  Vice  Cancellarius  ad 
Gradum  Magistri  in  Artibus  similiter  admisit." l 

An  echo  of  the  proprietary  feud  was  heard  even  among  the 
quiet  quadrangles  of  Oxford.  Dr.  William  Smith  had  es- 
poused the  cause  of  the  Proprietors,  and,  being  in  England 
soliciting  aid  for  the  college  in  Philadelphia,  took  occasion  to 
vilify  Franklin  upon  every  opportunity.  "I  made  that  man 
my  enemy,"  said  Franklin,  "  by  doing  him  too  much  kindness. 
'Tis  the  honestest  way  of  acquiring  an  Enemy."  Some  of  his 
slander  Smith  distilled  in  a  letter  to  Dr.  Fry,  the  President  of 

1  In  July,  1753,  he  received  the  honorary  Master  of  Arts  from  Harvard 
College,  and  at  the  September  Commencement  of  the  same  year  he  received  the 
diploma  of  the  same  degree  from  Yale.  Ezra  Stiles  notes  in  his  Diary  (III, 
391)  that  "We.  [Yale  College]  from  1749  and  onward  adopted  with  avidity 
and  before  all  the  rest  of  the  learned  world  his  electrical  and  philosophical 
Discoveries.  In  1755  I  made  a  gratulatory  oration  to  him  in  the  College 
Hall,  celebrating  his  philosophic  discoveries  and  congrats  his  Honours  from 
the  Republic  of  Letters."  William  and  Mary  conferred  upon  him  the  degree 
Master  of  Arts,  April  2,  1756. 


St.  John's  College.    But  the  letter  coming  to  the  notice  of 
Dr.  Kelly  occasioned  the  following  correspondence :  — 

DR.   J.    KELLY  TO   WILLIAM   STRAHAN        (A.  P.  S.) 

Oxford,  Feb.  u,  1763 


D*  Smith  was  lately  here  collecting  for  his  Academy,  and 
having  been  questioned  concerning  a  letter  He  promised  to 
write  to  the  President  of  St.  John's  in  the  presence  of  Mr 
Strahan  &  other  Gentlemen,  (which  letter  was  to  retract  the 
imputations  of  a  former  letter  against  Dr  Franklin),  He 
denied  the  whole,  &  even  treated  the  question  as  a  Calumny. 
I  make  no  other  comment  on  this  behaviour,  than  in  con- 
sidering him  extremely  unworthy  of  the  Honour,  he  has 
received,  from  our  University. 

When  you  write  to  Dr  Franklin  pray  convey  my  best 
respects  to  him  &  to  the  Governour  of  new  Jersey. 

I  beg  my  most  sincere  Compliments  to  Mrs.  Strahan,  and 
am,  Dr  Sir,  etc.  J.  KELLY. 

William  Strahan  replied :  "As  to  Dr.  Smith,  True  it  is  that 
Dr.  Franklin  and  he  met  at  my  House  and  in  my  Presence 
read  over  his  letter  to  D!  Fry,  Paragraph  by  Paragraph, 
when  D!  Smith  acknowledged  that  it  contained  many  Par- 
ticulars in  which  he  had  been  misled  by  wrong  Information, 
and  that  the  whole  was  written  with  too  much  rancor  and 
Asperity;  but  that  he  would  write  to  the  Df  contradicting 
what  was  false  in  it.  —  I  proposed  his  doing  this  without 
delay,  as  there  was  no  Difficulty  in  his  pointing  out  what 
was  true  or  false  in  his  letter ;  and  that  the  more  explicitely 
and  candidly  he  performed  this  Task,  the  better  Opinion  D' 
Fry  must  form  of  his  own  Honesty. — He  nevertheless  declined 


doing  it  then,  but  promised  to  call  on  me  in  a  day  or  two, 
and  shew  me  the  Letter  before  he  sent  it ;  which  however,  he 
has  never  yet  thought  fit  to  do." 

Midway  between  his  Scotch  and  English  honours,  or  in 
the  summer  of  1761,  Franklin  crossed  to  Holland  and  made 
a  tour  of  the  low  countries.  He  returned  to  London  in  Sep- 
tember to  witness  the  coronation  of  George  III.  It  is  in- 
teresting to  recall  the  loyal  enthusiasm  with  which  he  re- 
garded the  young  king.  When  William  Strahan  wrote  to 
him  expressing  melancholy  apprehensions  of  the  future, 
Franklin  replied  :  "Let  me  remind  you  that  I  have  sometimes 
been  in  the  right  in  such  cases  when  you  happen'd  to  be  in 
the  wrong;  as  I  can  prove  upon  you  out  of  this  very  letter 
of  yours.  Call  to  mind  your  former  fears  for  the  King  of 
Prussia,  and  remember  my  telling  you  that  the  man's  abilities 
were  more  than  equal  to  all  the  force  of  his  enemies,  and  that 
he  would  finally  extricate  himself  and  triumph.  .  .  .  You 
now  fear  for  our  virtuous  young  king,  that  the  factions  form- 
ing will  overpower  him  and  render  his  reign  uncomfortable. 
On  the  contrary,  I  am  of  Opinion  that  his  virtue  and  the 
consciousness  of  his  sincere  intentions  to  make  his  people 
happy  will  give  him  firmness  and  steadiness  in  his  Measures 
and  in  the  support  of  the  honest  friends  he  has  chosen  to 
serve  him ;  and  when  that  firmness  is  fully  perceived,  faction 
will  dissolve  and  be  dissipated  like  a  morning  fog  before  the 
rising  sun,  leaving  the  rest  of  the  day  clear,  with  a  sky  serene 
and  cloudless.  Such,  after  a  few  of  the  first  years,  will  be 
the  future  course  of  his  Majesty's  reign,  which  I  predict  will 
be  happy  and  truly  glorious." 

The  great  accomplishments  of  England  in  India  and  in 
America  excited  Franklin's  imagination.  Visions  of  the  vast 

VOL.  X  —  P 


future  of  the  British  Empire  trailed  their  glories  before  him. 
Clive  in  India  and  Wolfe  in  Canada  convinced  him  that 
the  peace  and  the  prosperity  of  the  world  rested  with  Great 
Britain.  He  was  naturally  an  imperialist,  and  he  welcomed 
every  extension  of  the  might  and  majesty  of  his  country.  He 
wrote  to  Lord  Kames :  "  No  one  can  more  sincerely  rejoice 
than  I  do,  on  the  reduction  of  Canada ;  and  this  is  not  merely 
as  I  am  a  colonist,  but  as  I  am  a  Briton.  I  have  long  been 
of  opinion  that  the  foundations  of  the  future  grandeur  and 
stability  of  the  British  Empire  lie  in  America;  and  though, 
like  other  foundations,  they  are  low  and  little  now,  they  are, 
nevertheless,  broad  and  strong  enough  to  support  the  greatest 
political  structure  that  human  wisdom  ever  yet  erected.  I 
am  therefore  by  no  means  for  restoring  Canada.  If  we 
keep  it,  all  the  country  from  the  St.  Lawrence  to  the  Missis- 
sippi will  in  another  century  be  filled  with  British  people. 
Britain  itself  will  become  vastly  more  populous,  by  the  im- 
mense increase  of  its  commerce;  the  Atlantic  sea  will  be 
covered  with  your  trading  ships;  and  your  naval  power, 
thence  continually  increasing,  will  extend  your  influence 
round  the  whole  globe,  and  awe  the  world !  If  the  French 
remain  in  Canada  they  will  continually  harass  our  colonies 
by  the  Indians  and  impede  if  not  prevent  their  growth ;  your 
progress  to  greatness  will  at  best  be  slow,  and  give  room  for 
many  accidents  that  may  forever  prevent  it.  But  I  refrain, 
for  I  see  you  begin  to  think  my  notions  extravagant,  and 
look  upon  them  as  the  ravings  of  a  mad  prophet."  l  A 
"mad  prophet"  indeed  Franklin  must  have  seemed  to  those 
politicians  who  in  1760  advocated  the  giving  up  of  Canada, 
and  "mad"  his  doctrines  must  have  appeared  to  those  states- 

1  To  Lord  Kames,  January  3,  1760. 


men  a  hundred  years  later  who  declared  the  colonies  to  be 
mill-stones  about  the  neck  of  England.  But  his  ideas  as 
set  forth  in  "The  Interest  of  Great  Britain  considered  with 
regard  to  her  Colonies,"  —  a  pamphlet  which  brought  about 
the  retention  of  Canada,  —  fructifying  the  mind  of  Cobden 
and  inspiring  the  thought  of  Molesworth,  have  triumphed  in 
the  glorious  fabric  of  the  imperial  connection  of  greater 
Britain  resting  upon  its  firm  foundation  of  colonial  democ- 
racies as  Franklin  foresaw  and  defined  them. 

The  notions  of  those  critics  who  believed  that  Canada  was 
too  large  to  be  peopled  by  England,  that  it  was  not  worth 
possessing,  and  that  the  possession  of  it  would  draw  on  Eng- 
land the  envy  of  other  powers,  Franklin  was  "every  day 
and  every  hour  combating"1  and  with  the  satisfaction  of 
knowing  that  he  could  flatter  himself  that  his  presence  in 
England  was  "of  some  service  to  the  general  interest  of 
America."  2 

In  June,  1760,  after  three  years  of  litigation,  Franklin 
brought  to  a  close  the  controversy  with  the  proprietors,  who 
at  last  recognized  the  right  of  taxing  the  proprietary  estates. 
Two  years  longer  he  remained  in  England  advocating  the 
annexation  of  Canada  to  the  Empire.* 

About  the  end  of  August,  1762,  he  departed  for  America 
in  company  with  ten  sail  of  merchant  ships  under  the  convoy 
of  a  man-of-war.  "The  weather  was  so  favourable  that 
there  were  few  days  in  which  we  could  not  visit  from  ship  to 
ship,  dining  with  each  other  and  on  board  of  the  man-of- 
war;  which  made  the  time  pass  agreeably,  much  more  so  than 

1  To  John  Hughes,  January  7,  1760. 

2  Ibid. 

8  See  "  On  disposing  an  Enemy  to  Peace,"  Vol.  IV,  p.  90. 


when  one  goes  in  a  single  ship;  for  this  was  like  travelling 
in  a  moving  village,  with  all  one's  neighbours  about 

On  the  ist  of  November  he  arrived  in  Philadelphia.  His 
son  William,  a  few  days  before  sailing,  had  been  named  gov- 
ernor of  New  Jersey,  and  the  ministry  and  the  friends  of  the 
Proprietaries  believed  that  Franklin  would  be  consequently 
less  active  in  opposition.  Thomas  Penn  wrote  to  Governor 
Hamilton,  "I  am  told  you  will  find  Mr.  Franklin  more 
tractable,  and  I  believe  we  shall,  in  matters  of  prerogative; 
as  his  son  must  obey  instructions,  and  what  he  is  ordered  to 
do  the  father  cannot  well  oppose  in  Pennsylvania."2 

The  son  arrived  in  February,  1763,  with  his  wife,  "a  very 
agreeable  West  India  lady"  by  the  name  of  Downes,  and 
was  accompanied  by  Franklin  to  his  government.  The 
latter  had  been  chosen  yearly  during  his  absence  in  Eng- 
land to  represent  the  city  of  Philadelphia  in  the  As- 
sembly. He  now  submitted  to  that  body  a  statement  of 
his  expenses :  — 

"Philadelphia,  Feb.  9,  1763. 

"SiR: — It  is  now  six  years  since,  in  obedience  to  the  order 
of  the  House,  I  undertook  a  voyage  to  England,  to  take  care 
of  their  affairs  there. 

"  Fifteen  hundred  pounds  of  the  publick  money  was  at  dif- 
ferent times  put  into  my  hands,  for  which  I  ought  to  account, 

1  To  Lord  Kames,  June  2,  1765. 

2  The  appointment  of  William  Franklin  was  made  by  Lord  Halifax  upon 
the  solicitation  of  the  Earl  of  Bute.     Upon  the  afternoon  of  September  2 
the  London  Chronicle  published  the  following  paragraph  :  "  This  morning  was 
married  at  St.  George's  Church,  Hanover  Square,  William   Franklin,  Esq., 
the  new  appointed  Governor  of  New  Jersey,  to  Miss  Elizabeth  Downes,  of 
St.  James's  Street." 


and  I  was  instructed  to  keep  accounts  of  the  disbursements 
I  sh  [torn  out]  make  in  the  publick  service. 

"  But  I  soon  found  such  accounts  were  in  many  instances 
impracticable.  For  example,  I  took  my  son  with  me,  partly 
to  assist  me  as  a  clerk  and  otherways  hi  the  publick  service, 
and  partly  to  improve  him  by  showing  him  the  world.  His 
services  were  considerable,  but  so  intermixed  with  private 
services,  as  that  I  could  not  well  attend  to  [sic],  I  made 
journies,  partly  for  health,  and  partly  that  I  might,  by 
country  visits  to  persons  of  influence,  have  more  convenient 
opportunities  of  discoursing  them  on  our  publick  affairs,  the 
expense  of  which  journeys  was  not  easily  proportion'd  and 
separated.  And  being  myself  honour'd  with  visits  from  per- 
sons of  quality  and  distinction,  I  was  obliged  for  the  credit 
of  the  province  to  live  in  a  fashion  and  expense,  suitable  to 
the  publick  character  I  sustain'd,  and  much  above  what  I 
should  have  done  if  I  had  been  consider'd  merely  as  a  private 
person:  and  this  difference  of  expense  was  not  easy  to  dis- 
tinguish, and  charge  in  my  accounts.  The  long  sickness  and 
frequent  relapses  I  had  the  first  and  part  of  the  second 
winter,  occasioned  by  a  change  of  climate,  were  many 
ways  expensive  to  me,  of  which  I  could  keep  no  acct.  if 
indeed  I  ought  to  have  charg'd  the  province  with  such 

In  the  spring  of  1763  he  set  out  on  a  tour  through  the 
Northern  Colonies  to  inspect  and  regulate  the  post-offices  in 
the  several  provinces.  He  returned  in  November  after 
having  travelled  about  sixteen  hundred  miles.  His  depar- 
ture was  in  the  midst  of  the  rejoicing  that  followed  upon  the 
treaty  of  Paris.  That  he  shared  the  common  joy  is  evident 
from  a  letter  addressed  to  his  friend  William  Strahan :  — 


"May  9,  1763. 

"  I  congratulate  you  sincerely  on  the  signing  of  the  defini- 
tive treaty,  which,  if  agreeable  to  the  preliminaries,  gives  us 
peace  the  most  advantageous  as  well  as  glorious  that  was 
ever  before  attained  by  Britain.  Throughout  this  continent 
I  find  it  universally  approved  and  applauded;  and  I  am 
glad  to  find  the  same  sentiment  prevailing  in  your  Parliament 
and  the  unbiased  part  of  the  nation.  Grumblers  there  will 
always  be  among  you,  where  power  and  places  are  worth 
striving  for,  and  those  who  cannot  obtain  them  are  angry 
with  all  that  stand  in  their  way.  Such  would  have  clamored 
against  a  ministry  not  their  particular  friends,  even  if  in- 
stead of  Canada  and  Louisiana  they  had  obtained  a  cession 
of  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  .  .  ." 

Scarcely  had  he  returned  when  the  terrible  conspiracy  of 
Pontiac  dismayed  the  colonies.  Franklin  was  appointed 
one  of  the  commissioners  to  dispose  of  the  public  money 
appropriated  for  the  raising  and  paying  an  army  to  act  against 
the  Indians  and  defend  the  frontiers.  The  Scotch-Irish  of 
the  western  counties,  enraged  by  the  outrages  committed  by 
the  savages,  ascribed  their  calamities  to  the  mistaken  policy 
of  peace  and  lenity  pursued  by  the  Quakers.  Blinded  and 
perverted  by  wrath  and  revenge,  they  invoked  the  aid  of  the 
holy  Scriptures  and  compared  themselves  to  the  ancient  Israel- 
ites working  out  the  inexorable  will  of  an  offended  Deity. 
In  December  (1763)  two  insurrections  took  place  in  which 
twenty  friendly  Indians,  —  men,  women,  and  children, — 
living  peaceably  near  Lancaster,  were  murdered  and  scalped 
and  their  village  destroyed  by  fire :  "When  the  poor  wretches 
saw  they  had  no  protection  nigh,  nor  could  possibly  escape, 
and  being  without  the  least  weapon  for  defense,  they  divided 


into  their  little  families,  the  children  clinging  to  the  parents ; 
they  fell  on  their  knees,  protested  their  innocence,  declared 
their  love  to  the  English,  and  that  in  their  whole  lives  they 
had  never  done  them  injury;  and  in  this  posture  they  all 
received  the  hatchet."  1 

The  rioters,  men  of  Lebanon,  Paxton,  Donegal,  and  Han- 
over, threatened  further  attacks  upon  the  Indians  of  Province 
Island.  The  sentiment  of  their  neighbours  sanctified  their 
atrocities  as  a  religious  crusade.  Franklin  wrote  a  pamphlet 
entitled  "A  Narrative  of  the  Late  Massacres  in  Lancaster 
County,"  intended,  as  he  said,  "to  strengthen  the  hands  of 
our  weak  government,  by  rendering  the  proceedings  of  the 
rioters  unpopular  and  odious."  2  One  hundred  and  forty 
terror-stricken  Indians,  peaceable  converts  of  the  Moravian 
missionaries,  sought  refuge  in  Philadelphia.  The  Paxton 
boys,  Scotch-Irish  fanatics,  armed  with  hatchets  and  rifles, 
marched  upon  the  city,  declaring  that  they  would  scalp  every 
Moravian  Indian  in  the  town.  When  they  approached  Ger- 
mantown,  the  governor,  John  Perm,  in  a  panic  of  fear,  fled 
for  protection  to  the  house  of  Dr.  Franklin.  He  requested 
Franklin  to  form  an  association  for  the  defence  of  the  city. 
One  thousand  citizens  took  arms  at  Franklin's  suggestion. 
"Governor  Perm,"  he  wrote  to  Lord  Kames,  "made  my 
house  for  some  time  his  headquarters,  and  did  every  thing 
by  my  advice;  so  that,  for  about  forty-eight  hours  I  was  a 
very  great  man ;  as  I  had  been  once  some  years  before,  in  a 
time  of  public  danger."  He  rode  out,  with  three  other 
gentlemen,  to  confer  with  the  Paxtons  who  had  halted  seven 
miles  from  the  city.  He  convinced  them  that  the  barracks 

1  Franklin,  "  Narrative  of  the  Late  Massacres  in  Lancaster  County." 

2  To  Lord  Kames,  June  2,  1765. 


in  the  Northern  Liberties  where  the  Indians  were  sheltered 
were  too  strongly  intrenched  and  defended  to  be  taken. 
They  thereupon  turned  back  and  restored  quiet  to  the  city. 
The  governor,  when  he  had  recovered  from  his  fright,  ex- 
perienced humiliation  and  chagrin  at  having  sought  and 
accepted  protection  at  the  hands  of  Franklin.  The  popu- 
lace, fanatically  hostile  to  the  Indians,  were  bitter  against 
Franklin  for  his  defence  of  the  Moravians.  The  Presby- 
terians and  the  Episcopalians  openly  in  the  pulpit  and  in  in- 
flammatory pamphlets  approved  the  atrocious  acts  of  the 
Paxton  boys  and  vindicated  the  rabble.  The  governor 
joined  with  them  and  offered  a  bounty  for  Indian  scalps. 
The  whole  weight  of  the  proprietary  interest  was  now  exerted 
to  eject  Franklin  from  the  Assembly.  A  series  of  resolutions 
was  passed  by  the  Assembly,  censuring  the  Proprietaries  and 
petitioning  the  king  to  resume  the  government  of  the  province. 
During  the  month  of  April  numerous  pamphlets  and  carica- 
tures appeared,  and  party  rancour  was  at  its  height.  Frank- 
lin's contribution  to  the  fervid  literature  was  "Cool  Thoughts 
on  the  Present  Situation  of  our  Public  Affairs."  It  was 
written  at  tearing  speed,  and  in  the  night  of  April  12,  1764, 
it  was  furtively  thrust  beneath  house  doors  or  thrown  in  at 
the  open  windows  of  residences. 

When  the  Assembly  met,  the  chief  champions  of  debate 
were  John  Dickinson  and  Joseph  Galloway.  The  latter, 
speaking  in  favour  of  royal  government,  carried  the  day 
by  a  large  majority.  Isaac  Norris,  the  speaker,  asked  for 
delay,  and  immediately  after  resigned  the  speakership  which 
he  had  held  for  fifteen  years,  and  Franklin  was  chosen 
in  his  room. 

Before  the  next  meeting  of  the  Assembly  in  October,  the 


annual  election  was  to  be  held.  Dickinson  published  his 
speech  with  an  elaborate  preface  by  another  hand,  Gallo- 
way followed  with  his  address  and  a  preface  by  Franklin.1 

Never  had  Philadelphia  been  so  aroused  over  a  political 
contest.  Franklin  and  Galloway  headed  the  old  ticket; 
Willing  and  Bryan  championed  the  new.  The  Moravians 
and  Quakers  were  at  the  back  of  the  old  ticket;  the  Dutch 
and  the  Presbyterians  with  a  sprinkling  of  Episcopalians  sup- 
ported the  new.  A  vivid  description  of  the  scene  upon  the 
day  of  election  is  found  hi  a  letter  from  Mr.  Pettit  of  Phila- 
delphia to  Joseph  Reed :  — 

"  The  poll  was  opened  about  nine  in  the  morning,  the  first 
of  October,  and  the  steps  so  crowded,  till  between  eleven  and 
twelve  at  night,  that  at  no  time  a  person  could  get  up  in  less 
than  a  quarter  of  an  hour  from  his  entrance  at  the  bottom, 
for  they  could  go  no  faster  than  the  whole  column  moved. 
About  three  in  the  morning,  the  advocates  for  the  new  ticket 
moved  for  a  close,  but  (O  !  fatal  mistake  !)  the  old  hands  kept 
it  open,  as  they  had  a  reserve  of  the  aged  and  lame,  which 
could  not  come  in  the  crowd,  and  were  called  up  and  brought 
out  in  chairs  and  litters,  and  some  who  needed  no  help,  between 
three  and  six  o'clock,  about  two  hundred  voters.  As  both  sides 
took  care  to  have  spies  all  night,  the  alarm  was  given  to  the 
new  ticket  men;  horsemen  and  footmen  were  immediately 
dispatched  to  Germantown  and  elsewhere ;  and  by  nine  or  ten 
o'clock  they  began  to  pour  in,  so  that  after  the  move  for  a 
close,  seven  or  eight  hundred  votes  were  procured;  about 
five  hundred  or  near  it  of  which  were  for  the  new  ticket,  and 
they  did  not  close  till  three  in  the  afternoon,  and  it  took  them 
till  one  next  day  to  count  them  off. 

1  See  Vol.  IV,  p.  315. 


11  The  new  ticket  carried  all  but  Harrison  and  Antis,  and 
Fox  and  Hughes  came  in  their  room;  but  it  is  surprising 
that  from  upwards  of  3900  votes,  they  should  be  so  near  each 
other.  Mr.  Willing  and  Mr.  Bryan  were  elected  Burgesses 
by  a  majority  of  upwards  of  one  hundred  votes,  though  the 
whole  number  was  but  about  1300.  Mr.  Franklin  died  like 
a  philosopher.  But  Mr.  Galloway  agonized  in  death,  like 
a  mortal  deist,  who  has  no  hopes  of  a  future  existence.  The 
other  Counties  returned  nearly  the  same  members  who  had 
served  them  before,  so  that  the  old  faction  have  still  consider- 
able majority  in  the  House."  1 

After  fourteen  years  of  service  Franklin  was  unseated  by  a 
majority  of  twenty-five  in  a  vote  of  four  thousand.  When 
the  Assembly  met,  his  name  was  proposed  as  the  agent  of  the 
House  to  present  their  petition  to  the  king.  Dickinson  in- 
effectually opposed  the  nomination  with  all  his  eloquence. 
By  a  vote  of  nineteen  to  eleven  Franklin  was  appointed  the 
agent  of  the  province.2  The  minority  prepared  a  protest 
which  they  asked  to  have  inscribed  upon  the  minutes.  Frank- 
lin printed  a  reply  entitled  "Remarks  on  a  Protest."  3 

A  loan  was  authorized  in  order  to  raise  money  for  his  ex- 
penses. Eleven  hundred  pounds  were  subscribed.  Frank- 
lin accepted  five  hundred,  and  on  November  7,  1764,  was 
escorted  by  a  cavalcade  of  three  hundred  citizens  to  Chester 

1  "  Life  of  Joseph  Reed,"  Vol.  I,  p.  37. 

2  Extract  from  the  Journals  of  the  House  of  Representatives  for  the  Prov- 
ince of  Pennsylvania.     October  26,  1 764. 

"  Resolved  That  Benjamin  Franklin,  Esq.  be,  and  he  is  hereby  appointed 
to  embark  with  all  convenient  expedition  for  Great  Britain,  to  join  with  and 
assist  Richd  Jackson  Esq.  our  present  Agent,  in  representing,  soliciting  and 
transacting  the  Affairs  of  this  Province  for  the  ensuing  Year.  A  true  extract 
from  the  Journals.  Chas  Moore,  Clk  of  Assembly." 

8  See  Vol.  IV,  p.  273. 


where  he  took  ship  for  England.  Galloway,  Wharton, 
and  James  accompanied  him  in  the  ship  from  Chester  to 
Newcastle  and  went  ashore  there.  "The  affectionate  leave 
taken  of  me  by  so  many  friends  at  Chester  was  very  endear- 
ing," Franklin  wrote  to  his  daughter  from  Reedy  Island, 
"  God  bless  them  and  all  Pennsylvania."  1 

Out  of  the  atmosphere  of  strife,  pursued  still  by  cries  of 
passion  and  furious  anger,2  Franklin  slipped  into  the  silence 
of  the  sea,  and  in  thirty  days  reached  England,  and  on  the 
evening  of  the  loth  of  December  was  again  in  his  old  lodg- 
ings at  No.  7,  Craven  Street.  Cadwallader  Evans  wrote 
to  him  from  Philadelphia:  "A  vessel  from  Ireland  to  New 
York  brought  us  the  most  agreeable  news  of  your  arrival 
in  London,  which  occasioned  a  great  and  general  joy  in 
Pennsylvania  among  those  whose  esteem  an  honest  man 
would  value  most.  The  bells  rang  on  that  account  till  near 
midnight,  and  libations  were  poured  out  for  your  health, 
success,  and  every  other  happiness.  Even  your  old  friend 
Hugh  Roberts  stayed  with  us  till  eleven  o'clock,  which  you 
know  was  a  little  out  of  his  common  road,  and  gave  us  many 
curious  anecdotes  within  the  compass  of  your  forty  years' 
acquaintance."  A  letter  from  William  Franklin  to  William 
Strahan  (February  18,  1765)  relates  the  occurrences  that  fol- 
lowed hard  upon  Franklin's  departure :  "We  have  not  heard 
anything  from  my  Father  since  he  sail'd,  but  I  hope  he  has 
been  safely  landed  in  England  at  least  two  months  ago. 
Since  he  left  us  Mr.  Allen  one  of  the  principal  Prop7  Tools 
in  Pensylvania  has  employ'd  that  Miscreant  Parson  Smith, 

1  To  Sarah  Bache,  November  8,  1764. 

2  "  An  Answer  to  Mr.  Franklin's  Remarks  on  a  Late  Protest "  appeared 
just  after  the  ship  sailed. 


and  two  or  three  other  Prostitute  Writers  to  asperse  his 
Character,  in  which  they  have  been  very  industrious.  How- 
ever, they  have  lately  received  a  terrible  Shock  from  Mr. 
Hughes,  one  of  my  Father's  Friends,  who  being  incens'd 
at  their  base  Conduct  published  an  Advertisement  sign'd  with 
his  Name  in  which  he  promised  that  if  Mr.  Allen,  or  any  Gent" 
of  Character  would  undertake  to  justify  the  Charges  brought 
against  Mr.  Franklin,  he  would  pay  £10  to  the  Hospital  for 
every  one  they  should  prove  to  the  Satisfaction  of  impartial 
Persons,  provided  they  would  pay  £$.  for  every  Falshood  he 
should  prove  they  had  alledged  against  Mr.  Franklin.  But 
this  Challenge  they  were  afraid  to  accept,  and  therefore  still 
kept  their  Names  concealed ;  but  as  they  thought  that  some- 
thing must  be  done,  they  endeavoured  to  turn  all  Mr.  Hughes's 
Challenge  into  Ridicule  and  raise  the  Laugh  against  him  by 
an  anonymous  Answer.  He,  however,  published  a  Reply 
with  his  Name  subscribed,  in  which  he  has  lash'd  them  very 
severely  for  their  Baseness.  Not  being  able  to  answer  this, 
they  employ'd  one  Dove,  a  Fellow  who  has  some  Talents  for  the 
lowest  kind  of  Scurrility,  to  publish  a  Print  with  some  Verses 
annex'd,  vilifying  my  Father  and  some  of  the  most  worthy 
Men  of  the  Province.  By  way  of  Revenge  some  Writer  has 
attack'd  them  in  their  own  Way,  and  turn'd  all  Dove's  Verses 
against  Mr.  Allen,  he  being  the  Head  of  the  Prop7  Party. 
This  has  enraged  him  excessively  as  those  Verses  and  the  Print 
had  cost  him  upwards  of  ^25.  You  will  probably  have 
seen,  before  this  reaches  you,  the  Advertisement,  Answer  and 
Reply,  as  they  were  printed  in  Mr.  Hall's  Newspaper,  and 
therefore  I  send  you  the  enclos'd  Pamphlet  which  is  likely 
to  put  a  Stop  to  that  kind  of  Writing  here  for  the  future,  as 
was  the  Intention  of  the  Author.  The  Matter  of  the  Prop7 


Party  against  my  Father,  on  Account  of  his  wanting  to  bring 
about  a  Change  of  Government,  is  beyond  all  Bounds.  They 
glory  in  saying  and  doing  Things  to  destroy  his  Character 
that  would  make  even  Devils  blush.  If  he  does  not  succeed 
I  know  not  what  will  become  of  the  Province,  as  there  is 
such  a  rooted  Hatred  among  a  great  Majority  of  the  People 
against  the  Prop7  Family.  Do  let  me  hear  what  you  think 
of  his  Undertaking  etc." 



FRANKLIN'S  immediate  business  of  presenting  the  petition 
of  the  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania  for  the  change  from  pro- 
prietary to  royal  government  was  for  a  time  postponed  by  the 
urgency  and  excitement  occasioned  by  the  threatened  passage 
of  the  Stamp  Act.  Mr.  Grenville,  in  the  winter  of  1763-1764, 
had  "called  together  the  agents  of  the  several  colonies  and 
told  them  that  he  proposed  to  draw  a  revenue  from  America, 
and  to  that  end  his  intention  was  to  levy  a  stamp  duty  on 
the  colonies  by  act  of  Parliament  in  the  ensuing  session,  of 
which  he  thought  it  fit  that  they  should  be  immediately  ac- 
quainted, that  they  might  have  time  to  consider,  and,  if  any 
other  duty  equally  productive  would  be  more  agreeable  to 
them,  they  might  let  him  know  of  it."  l 

The  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania  replied  that  the  propo- 
sition of  taxing  them  in  Parliament  was  cruel  and  unjust. 
"That,  by  the  constitution  of  the  colonies,  their  business  was 
with  the  King,  in  matters  of  aid ;  they  had  nothing  to  do  with 
i  See  Vol.  VII,  p.  118. 


any  financier t  nor  he  with  them ;  nor  were  the  agents  the  proper 
channels  through  which  requisitions  should  be  made:  it 
was  therefore  improper  for  them  to  enter  in  any  stipulation,  or 
make  any  proposition,  to  Mr.  Grenville  about  laying  taxes 
on  their  constituents  by  Parliament,  which  had  really  no  right 
at  all  to  tax  them,  especially  as  the  notice  he  had  sent  them 
did  not  appear  to  be  by  the  king's  order,  and  perhaps  was 
without  his  knowledge;  .  .  .  But,  all  this  notwithstanding, 
they  were  so  far  from  refusing  to  grant  money,  that  they  re- 
solved to  the  following  purpose ;  that  as  they  always  had,  so 
they  always  should  think  it  'their  duty  to  grant  aid  to  the 
crown,  according  to  their  abilities,  whenever  required  of  them 
hi  the  usual  constitutional  manner.'  "  * 

A  copy  of  this  resolution  Franklin  took  with  him  to  Eng- 
land and  presented  to  Mr.  Grenville  at  an  interview  which 
took  place  on  the  2d  of  February,  1765,  between  the  minis- 
ter and  the  four  colonial  agents.  Grenville  listened  politely 
to  the  presentation  of  the  colonial  resolution,  but  at  once 
made  it  plain  to  the  agents  that  he  was  irrevocably  committed 
to  the  bill,  that  he  would  certainly  offer  it  to  the  House,  and 
that  while  the  ears  of  the  mother  country  would  always  be 
open  to  every  remonstrance  expressed  in  a  becoming  manner, 
he  hoped  that  America  would  preserve  moderation  and  tem- 
perance in  the  expression  of  objections. 

In  less  than  seven  weeks  the  bill  had  passed  almost  without 
opposition  through  both  Houses,  and  had  received  the  royal 
assent.  The  news  that  the  Stamp  Act  had  become  law  was 
received  in  America  with  universal  indignation.  The  colo- 
nies drew  together  in  common  protest.  The  Assemblies 
passed  comminatory  resolutions  denouncing  the  tyranny  and 

i  See  Vol.  VII,  p.  118. 


injustice  of  the  law.  They  resolved  to  renounce  all  importa- 
tion of  British  manufactures,  until  the  Act  should  be  repealed, 
to  wear  clothes  of  homespun  stuff,  and  to  eat  no  mutton  but  to 
rear  all  lambs  for  wool.  James  Parker,  a  printer  in  Burling- 
ton, wrote  to  Franklin  (April  25,  1765):  "Three  days  ago 
Charles  Read  made  me  a  present  of  a  pair  of  wooden  shoes, 
as  a  proper  Badge  of  the  slavery  the  Stamp  Act  must  soon 
reduce  all  Printers  to,  and  I  shall  wear  them  sometimes  for 
the  sake  of  contemplating  on  the  changes  of  Fortune's  Wheel. 
I  thank  God  that  we  are  not  yet  worse  than  the  Peasants  of 
France  who  have  yet  the  liberty  of  tilling  the  ground  and 
eating  chestnuts  and  garlick  when  they  can  get  them." 

Franklin  seems  to  have  been  ignorant  of  the  unanimity  and 
the  violence  of  the  opposition.  He  doubtless  supposed  that 
after  some  noisy  demonstration  the  country  would  settle 
down  to  a  sullen  acceptance  of  the  law.  Submission  to  the 
will  of  Parliament  was  the  wise  and  proper  course.  He 
wrote  to  Charles  Thomson :  "  Depend  upon  it,  my  good  neigh- 
bour, I  took  every  step  in  my  power  to  prevent  the  passing  of 
the  Stamp  Act.  Nobody  could  be  more  concerned  in  interest 
than  myself  to  oppose  it  sincerely  and  heartily.  But  the 
Tide  was  too  strong  against  us.  The  nation  was  provoked 
by  American  Claims  of  Independence,  and  all  Parties  joined 
hi  resolving  by  this  Act  to  settle  the  point.  We  might  as  well 
have  hindered  the  sun's  setting.  That  we  could  not  do. 
But  since  'tis  down,  my  Friend,  and  it  may  be  long  before  it 
rises  again,  let  us  make  as  good  a  night  of  it  as  we  can.  We 
may  still  light  candles.  Frugality  and  Industry  will  go  a  great 
way  toward  indemnifying  us.  Idleness  and  Pride  tax  with 
a  heavier  hand  than  Kings  and  Parliaments;  if  we  can  get 
rid  of  the  former  we  may  easily  bear  the  latter." 


His  confidence  in  his  friend,  Joseph  Galloway,  was  great ; 
and  upon  him  he  relied  for  news  of  the  tendencies  of  parties 
and  public  opinion  at  home.  Galloway  had  written  to  him 
that  he  had  nearly  finished  writing  a  pamphlet  entitled  "Po- 
litical Reflections  on  the  Dispute  between  Great  Britain  and 
her  Colonies  respecting  her  Right  of  Imposing  Taxes  on 
them  without  their  Consent."  Something  of  the  kind,  he 
wrote  (January  13,  1765),  "seems  absolutely  necessary  to 
allay  the  violent  Temper  of  the  Americans,  which  has  been  so 
worked  up  as  to  be  ready  even  for  Rebellion  itself.  But  the 
difficulty  will  be  in  getting  it  Published :  The  Printers  on  the 
Continent  having  combined  together  to  print  every  thing  in- 
flammatory and  nothing  that  is  rational  and  cool.  By  which 
means  every  thing  that  is  published  is  ex  parte,  the  people  are 
taught  to  believe  the  greatest  Absurdities  and  their  Passions 
are  excited  to  a  Degree  of  Resentment  against  the  Mother 
Country  beyond  all  Description."  In  the  same  letter  Gallo- 
way also  wrote  that "  a  certain  Sect  of  People  if  I  may  judge 
from  all  their  late  Conduct  seem  to  look  on  this  as  a  favour- 
able opportunity  of  establishing  their  Republican  Principles 
and  of  throwing  off  all  Connection  with  their  Mother 
Country.  Many  of  their  Publications  justify  the  Thought. 
Besides  I  have  other  Reasons  to  think,  that  they  are  not 
only  forming  a  Private  Union  among  themselves  from  one 
end  of  the  Continent  to  the  other,  but  endeavouring  also  to 
bring  into  their  Union  the  Quakers  and  all  other  Dissenters 
if  possible.  But  I  hope  this  will  be  impossible.  In  Pennsyl- 
vania I  am  confident  it  will." 

Again  Galloway  wrote  (June  18, 1765) :  "I  cannot  describe 
to  you  the  indefatigable  Industry  that  have  been  and  are  con- 
stantly taking  by  the  Prop y  Party  and  Men  in  Power 


here  to  prevail  on  the  people  to  give  every  kind  of  Opposition 
to  the  Execution  of  this  Law.  To  incense  their  Minds  against 
the  King,  Lords  and  Commons,  and  to  alienate  their  Affections 
from  the  Mother  Country.  It  is  no  uncommon  thing  to  hear 
the  Judges  of  the  Courts  of  Justice  from  the  first  to  the  most 
Inferiour,  in  the  Presence  of  the  attending  Populace,  to  Treat 
the  whole  Parliament  with  the  most  irreverent  Abuse. 
Scarcely  an  thing  is  too  Bad  to  be  said  of  the  Ministry,  and 
that  worthy  Nobleman  L*  Bute  is  openly  cursed  whenever  his 
Name  is  mentioned  —  These  things  are  truly  alarming  to  our 
Friends  and  the  Discreet  and  Sensible  part  of  the  People,  as  it 
is  Evident  they  tend  with  great  rapidity  to  create  in  the 
Minds  of  the  Populace  and  weaker  part  of  mankind  a  Spirit 
of  Riot  and  Rebellion,  which  will  be  hereafter  Quelled  with 
great  Difficulty,  if  ever  Quelled  at  all. 

"  It  is  already  become  Dangerous  to  Espouse  the  Conduct 
of  the  Parliament  in  some  parts  of  America,  in  any  Degree, 
as  the  Resolves  before  mentioned  prove.  And  I  fear  will  in 
a  very  Short  Time  become  so  in  this  Province.  For  almost 
every  Pen  &  Tongue  are  employd  against  them,  while  not  a 
word  scarcely  is  offerd  on  their  side." 

Franklin  firmly  believed  that  the  Stamp  Act  was,  in  his  oft- 
repeated  phrase,  "the  mother  of  mischief,"  but  he  counselled 
caution  and  moderation.  Too  stubborn  resistance  to  its  pro- 
visions would  break  in  pieces  the  loyalty  and  allegiance  of  the 
colonies.  Soon  after  the  Act  was  passed,  the  colony  agents 
were  called  together  by  William  Whateley,  the  secretary  of 
Mr.  Grenville,  and  informed  that  it  was  the  wish  of  the  min- 
ister "to  make  the  execution  of  the  act  as  little  inconvenient 
and  disagreeable  to  America  as  possible;  and  therefore  did 
not  think  of  sending  stamp  officers  from  the  country,  but 

VOL.  X  —  Q 


wished  to  have  discreet  and  reputable  persons  appointed  in 
each  province  from  among  the  inhabitants,  such  as  would  be 
acceptable  to  them;  for,  as  they  were  to  pay  the  tax,  he 
thought  strangers  should  not  have  the  emolument."  l 

In  compliance  with  this  plausible  and  seemingly  candid 
invitation  Franklin  named  his  old  friend  and  stout  defender, 
John  Hughes,  to  be  stamp  distributor  for  Pennsylvania.  He 
was  soon  to  learn  that  he  had  strangely  misread  the  temper 
of  his  countrymen.  Thomas  Wharton  wrote  to  him  from 
Philadelphia,  October  5,  1765,  "This  day  the  Letter  and  the 
August  packet  came  to  hand  as  well  as  the  Vessell  with  the 
stamp'd  Paper  came  up  to  town,  but  such  confusion  and  dis- 
order it  created  as  thou  never  saw  with  Us,  the  Inhabitants 
collected  to  the  State  house  by  beat  of  Drum,  and  nothing 
less  than  the  Destruction  of  our  dear  Friend  J.  Hughes  or  the 
Surrender  of  his  Office  were  the  objects,  and  find'g  Matters 
thus  circumstanc'd  and  he  being  reduced  to  a  very  low  State 
by  a  severe  Indisposition,  he  at  last  promis'd  that  he  would 
resign  on  second  day  next." 

Hughes  was  hung  in  effigy  in  the  Jersey  market,  and  not  a 
magistrate  could  be  found  who  would  order  it  to  be  taken 
down.  Threats  were  freely  made  to  destroy  his  residence, 
and  he  thought  it  prudent  to  leave  it  and  to  remove  his  best 
furniture  and  papers. 

Maledictions  were  heaped  upon  Franklin  as  a  betrayer  of 
the  trust  reposed  in  him  by  the  people.  The  Chief  Jus- 
tice asserted  in  the  House  that  Franklin  had  planned  the 
Stamp  Act,  and  was  the  greatest  enemy  to  its  repeal.  Frank- 
lin replied  in  a  letter  to  his  wife  (November  9,  1765):  "I 
thank  him  that  he  does  not  charge  me  (as  they  [the  Presby- 

1  Letter  to  Rev.  Josiah  Tucker,  February  26,  1774. 


terians]  do  their  God)  with  having  planned  Adam's  fall  and 
the  Damnation  of  Mankind.  It  might  be  affirmed  with  equal 
Truth  and  Modesty.  He  certainly  was  intended,  for  a  wise 
man,  for  he  has  the  wisest  look  of  any  Man  I  know  —  and 
if  he  would  only  nod  and  wink,  and  could  but  hold  his  Tongue 
he  might  deceive  an  Angel.  Let  us  pity  and  forget  him." 
Franklin's  house  in  Philadelphia  was  menaced.  Mrs.  Frank- 
lin was  entreated  to  seek  safety  in  Burlington,  New  Jersey, 
but  she  refused  to  leave.  She  wrote  to  her  husband,  "  Cousin 
Davenport  came  and  told  me  that  more  than  twenty  people 
had  told  him  it  was  his  duty  to  be  with  me.  I  said  I  was 
pleased  to  receive  civility  from  anybody,  so  he  staid  with  me 
some  time ;  towards  night  I  said  he  should  fetch  a  gun  or  two, 
as  we  had  none.  I  sent  to  ask  my  brother  to  come  and  bring 
his  gun  also,  so  we  turned  one  room  into  a  magazine;  I 
ordered  some  sort  of  defense  up  stairs,  such  as  I  could  manage 

With  his  usual  thriftiness  Franklin  had,  as  soon  as  he  was 
convinced  that  the  Stamp  Act  would  pass,  sent  over  to  David 
Hall  a  quantity  of  unstamped  paper  in  order  that  his  partner 
might  have  an  advantage  over  his  competitors.  He  wrote  at 
the  same  time,  "  The  Stamp  Act  notwithstanding  all  the  Oppo- 
sition that  could  be  given  it  by  the  American  Interest,  will 
pass.  I  think  it  will  affect  the  Printers  more  than  anybody, 
as  a  Sterling  Halfpenny  Stamp  on  every  Half  Sheet  of  a  News- 
paper, and  Two  Shillings  Sterling  on  every  Advertisement,  will 
go  near  to  knock  up  one  Half  of  both.  There  is  also  Four- 
pence  Sterling  on  every  Almanack.  I  have  just  sent  to  Mr. 
Strahan  to  forward  100  Reams  of  the  large  Half  Sheets  to  you, 
such  as  the  Chronicle  is  done  on,  for  present  use,  and  shall, 
as  soon  as  possible,  send  you  a  Pair  of  Paper  Molds  for  that 


size,  otherwise  the  Stamp  on  the  Gazette  will  cost  a  Penny 
Sterling,  even  when  you  do  not  print  a  Half  Sheet."  *  Permis- 
sion was  not  granted  to  have  the  paper  stamped  in  America, 
and  it  was  sent  back  to  England  at  Franklin's  cost.  He 
wrote  again  to  his  partner  (August  9,  1765) :  "As  to  the  paper 
sent  over,  I  did  it  for  the  best,  having  at  that  Time  Expecta- 
tions given  me  that  we  might  have  had  it  Stamped  there,  in 
which  case  you  would  have  had  great  Advantage  over  the 
other  Printers,  since  if  they  were  not  provided  with  such 
Paper  they  must  have  either  printed  but  a  half  sheet  Common 
Demi,  or  paid  for  two  Stamps  on  each  sheet.  The  Plan  was 
afterwards  altered  notwithstanding  all  I  could  do  ...  I 
would  not  have  you  by  any  means  drop  the  newspaper,  as  I 
am  sure  it  will  soon  recover  any  present  loss,  and  may  be  car- 
ried on  to  advantage  if  you  steadily  proceed  as  I  proposed 
in  former  letters." 

Quick  as  he  was  to  take  advantage  in  the  way  of  business 
of  every  varying  gale  of  political  fortune,  he  was  occupied  in 
England,  to  the  exclusion  of  every  other  subject,  in  attempting 
the  repeal  of  the  obnoxious  law.  "In  a  continual  hurry  from 
morning  to  night,"  as  he  told  Lord  Kames,  he  attended  mem- 
bers of  both  Houses,  informing,  consulting,  disputing.  He 
wrote  frequent  letters  to  The  Public  Advertiser,2  filled  with  co- 
gent and  practical  argument,  and  with  very  obvious  irony. 

To  John  Hughes  he  wrote  privately  that  he  was  by  no 
means  sure  of  repeal.  "In  the  meantime  a  firm  Loyalty 
to  the  Crown  and  faithful  Adherence  to  the  Government  of 
this  Nation  which  it  is  the  Safety  as  well  as  Honour  of  the 
Colonies  to  be  connected  with,  will  always  be  the  wisest 

1  To  David  Hall,  February  14,  1765. 
a  See  Vol.  IV,  pp.  393  et  seq. 


Course  for  you  and  I  to  take,  whatever  may  be  the  Madness 
of  the  Populace  or  their  blind  Leaders,  who  can  only  bring 
themselves  and  Country  into  Trouble  and  draw  on  greater 
Burthens  by  Acts  of  rebellious  Tendency."  1 

The  stamped  paper  reached  Philadelphia  in  October,  1765. 
Upon  the  approach  of  the  first  vessel  bearing  the  detested 
cargo  flags  were  put  at  half  mast  and  bells  were  muffled. 
Stamped  paper  wherever  found  was  promptly  burned.  House- 
wives resumed  their  knitting  and  spinning.  Franklin,  like 
many  another  well-to-do  householder,  went  clothed  from  head 
to  foot  in  garments  of  his  wife's  making.  Not  a  joint  of 
lamb  was  to  be  seen  on  any  table  in  America,  throughout  a 
country  of  1500  miles  extent.  American  orders  placed  with 
manufacturers  in  England  were  cancelled.  Merchants  en- 
gaged in  the  colonial  trade  appealed  in  alarm  and  dismay  to 
Parliament  for  aid.  Testimony  was  given  at  the  bar  of  the 
House  for  six  weeks.  Such  evidence,  said  Burke,  was  never 
laid  before  Parliament.  On  the  second  of  February  Franklin 
appeared  before  the  Committee  of  the  whole  House.  The 
"  Examination  of  Dr.  Franklin  before  the  House  of  Commons  " 
is  historically  famous  and  valuable.  Searching  questions 
intended  to  embarrass  him  were  asked  by  the  most  astute  men 
of  affairs  in  England.  His  answers  were  so  informing  and 
illuminating,  so  indicative  of  extraordinary  eminence  of  mind 
and  character  that  Edmund  Burke  compared  the  scene  to 
that  of  a  schoolmaster  being  catechised  by  his  pupils.  It  is 
a  mistake  to  suppose  that  Franklin  was  entirely  unaware 
before  he  submitted  to  interrogation  of  the  character  of  the 
questions  that  would  be  asked  of  him.  He  enjoyed  a  large 
acquaintance  among  the  membership  of  the  House.  They 

1  To  John  Hughes,  August  9,  1765. 


knew  perfectly  well  the  nature  of  his  views  and  the  range  of  his 
knowledge.  They  framed  questions  that  were  wisely  calcu- 
lated to  elicit  information  the  most  favourable  to  the  cause 
he  represented.  The  entire  "Examination,"  as  published 
in  1767  is  printed  in  volume  IV,  pp.  412-448,  and  it  is  unnec- 
essary in  this  place  to  quote  from  that  astonishing  document. 
It  may  be  well  however  to  relate  that  in  a  memorandum  which 
Franklin  gave  to  a  friend  who  wished  to  know  by  whom 
the  questions  were  put  he  admitted  that  many  were  asked  by 
friends  to  draw  out  in  answer  the  substance  of  what  he  had 
before  said  upon  the  subject.  The  following  is  the  memoran- 
dum as  printed  in  Walsh's  Life  of  Franklin,  contained  in 
Delaplaine's  Repository :  — 

"I  have  numbered  the  questions,"  says  Dr.  Franklin,  "for 
the  sake  of  making  references  to  them. 

"Qu.  i,  is  a  question  of  form,  asked  of  every  one  that  is 
examined.  —  Qu.  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  were  asked  by  Mr.  Hewitt, 
a  member  for  Coventry,  a  friend  of  ours,  and  were  designed 
to  draw  out  the  answers  that  follow;  being  the  substance  of 
what  I  had  before  said  to  him  on  the  subject,  to  remove  a 
common  prejudice,  that  the  Colonies  paid  no  taxes,  and  that 
their  governments  were  supported  by  burdening  the  people 
here ;  Qu.  7,  was  particularly  intended  to  show  by  the  answer, 
that  Parliament  could  not  properly  and  equally  lay  taxes  in 
America,  as  they  could  not,  by  reason  of  their  distance,  be  ac- 
quainted with  such  circumstances  as  might  make  it  necessary 
to  spare  particular  parts.  —  Qu.  8  to  13,  asked  by  Mr.  Huske, 
another  friend,  to  show  the  impracticability  of  distributing  the 
Stamps  in  America.  —  Qu.  14,  15,  16,  by  one  of  the  late  ad- 
ministration, an  adversary.  —  Qu.  17  to  26,  by  Mr.  Huske 
again.  His  questions  about  the  Germans,  and  about  the 


number  of  people,  were  intended  to  make  the  opposition  to  the 
Stamp  Act  in  America  appear  more  formidable.  He  asked 
some  others  here  that  the  Clerk  has  omitted,  particularly  one, 
I  remember. 

"  There  had  been  a  considerable  party  in  the  House  for  sav- 
ing the  honour  and  right  of  Parliament,  by  retaining  the  Act, 
and  yet  making  it  tolerable  to  America,  by  reducing  it  to  a 
stamp  on  commissions  for  profitable  offices,  and  on  cards  and 
dice.  I  had,  in  conversation  with  many  of  them,  objected  to 
this,  as  it  would  require  an  establishment  for  the  distributors, 
which  would  be  a  great  expense,  as  the  stamps  would  not  be 
sufficient  to  pay  them,  and  so  the  odium  and  contention  would 
be  kept  up  for  nothing.  The  notion  of  amending,  however, 
still  continued,  and  one  of  the  most  active  of  the  members  for 
promoting  it  told  me,  he  was  sure  I  could,  if  I  would,  assist 
them  to  amend  the  Act  in  such  a  manner,  that  America  should 
have  little  or  no  objection  to  it.  'I  must  confess,'  says  I, 
'  I  have  thought  of  one  amendment ;  if  you  will  make  it,  the 
Act  may  remain,  and  yet  the  Americans  will  be  quieted.  It 
is  a  very  small  amendment,  too;  it  is  only  the  change  of  a 
single  word.'  'Ay,'  says  he,  'what  is  that?'  'It  is  in  that 
clause  where  it  is  said,  that  from  and  after  the  first  day  of 
November  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  sixty-five,  there 
shall  be  paid,  &c.  The  amendment  I  would  propose  is,  for 
one  read  two,  and  then  all  the  rest  of  the  act  may  stand  as  it 
does.  I  believe  it  will  give  nobody  in  America  any  uneasiness. 
Mr.  Huske  had  heard  of  this,  and,  desiring  to  bring  out  the 
same  answer  in  the  House,  asked  me  whether  I  could  not  pro- 
pose a  small  amendment,  that  would  make  the  act  palatable. 
But,  as  I  thought  the  answer  he  wanted  too  light  and  ludicrous 
for  the  House,  I  evaded  the  question. 


"Qu.  27,  28,  29, 1  think  these  were  by  Mr.  Grenville,  but  I 
am  not  certain.  —  Qu.  30,  31, 1  know  not  who  asked  them.  — 
Qu.  32  to  35,  asked  by  Mr.  Nugent,  who  was  against  us.  His 
drift  was  to  establish  a  notion  he  had  entertained,  that  the 
people  in  America  had  a  crafty  mode  of  discouraging  the 
English  trade  by  heavy  taxes  on  merchants.  —  Qu.  36  to  42, 
most  of  these  by  Mr.  Cooper  and  other  friends,  with  whom  I 
had  discoursed,  and  were  intended  to  bring  out  such  answers 
as  they  desired  and  expected  from  me.  —  Qu.  43,  uncertain 
by  whom.  —  Qu.  44,  45,  46,  by  Mr.  Nugent  again,  who  I 
suppose  intended  to  infer,  that  the  poor  people  in  America 
were  better  able  to  pay  taxes  than  the  poor  in  England.  — 
Qu.  47,  48,  49,  by  Mr.  Prescott,  an  adversary. 

"Qu.  50  to  58,  by  different  members,  I  cannot  recollect 
who.  —  Qu.  59  to  78,  chiefly  by  the  former  ministry.  —  Qu. 
79  to  82,  by  friends.  —  Qu.  83,  by  one  of  the  late  ministry.  — 
Qu.  84,  by  Mr.  Cooper.  —  Qu.  85  to  90,  by  some  of  the  late 
ministry.  —  Qu.  91,  92,  by  Mr.  Grenville.  —  Qu.  93  to  98, 
by  some  of  the  late  ministry.  —  Qu.  99,  100,  by  some  friend, 
I  think  Sir  George  Saville.  —  Qu.  101  to  106,  by  several  of 
the  late  ministry.  —  Qu.  107  to  114,  by  friends. — Qu.  115 
to  117,  by  Mr.  A.  Bacon.  —  Qu.  118  to  120,  by  some  of  the 
late  ministry. — Qu.  121,  by  an  adversary. —  Qu.  122,  by  a 
friend.  —  Qu.  123,  124,  by  Mr.  Charles  Townshend.  —  Qu. 
125,  by  Mr.  Nugent.  —  Qu.  126,  by  Mr.  Grenville.  —  Qu.  127, 
by  one  of  the  late  ministry.  —  Qu.  128,  by  Mr.  G.  Grenville. 
—  Qu.  129,  130,  131,  by  Mr.  Welbore  Ellis,  late  Secretary  of 
War.  — Qu.  132  to  135,  uncertain.  — Qu.  136  to  142,  by  some 
of  the  late  ministry,  intending  to  prove  that  it  operated  where 
no  service  was  done,  and  therefore  it  was  a  tax.  —  Qu.  143, 
by  a  friend,  I  forgot  who.  —  Qu.  144,  145,  by  C.  Townshend. 










en  g 

Q  ^ 

g  Z 

n  u 

W     M 

—      — 


—  Qu.  146  to  151,  by  some  of  the  late  ministry. — Qu.  152 
to  157,  by  Mr.  Prescott,  and  others  of  the  same  side.  — Qu. 
158  to  162,  by  Charles  Townshend.  —  Qu.  163,  164,  by  a 
friend,  I  think  Sir  George  Saville.  —  Qu.  165,  by  some  friend. 

—  Qu.   166,   167,  by  an  adversary. — Qu.  168  to   174,  by 

"Mr.  Nugent  made  a  violent  speech  next  day  upon  this 
examination,  in  which  he  said,  'We  have  often  experienced 
Austrian  ingratitude  and  yet  we  assisted  Portugal,  we  expe- 
rienced Portuguese  ingratitude,  and  yet  we  assisted  America. 
But  what  is  Austrian  ingratitude,  what  is  the  ingratitude  of 
Portugal,  compared  to  this  of  America?  We  have  fought, 
bled,  and  ruined  ourselves,  to  conquer  for  them;  and  now 
they  come  and  tell  us  to  our  noses,  even  at  the  bar  of  this 
House,  that  they  were  not  obliged  to  us,'  &c.  But  his  clamour 
was  very  little  minded." 

Eight  days  after  the  Examination  closed,  or  on  the  2ist  of 
February,  a  Repealing  Bill  was  introduced  into  Parliament 
which  successfully  passed  both  Houses  and  received  the  royal 
assent  on  the  eighth  of  March.  The  news  was  received  in 
America  with  uproarious  and  extravagant  joy.  The  Gov- 
ernor of  Pennsylvania,  the  Mayor  of  Philadelphia,  and  the 
gentlemen  of  the  city  drank  the  health  of  "our  worthy  and 
faithful  agent,  Dr.  Franklin."  The  chief  feature  of  the  pro- 
cession in  honour  of  the  event  was  a  barge  forty  feet  in  length, 
named  Franklin,  from  which  salutes  were  fired.  At  the 
annual  election  in  October  opposition  was  silenced  and  Frank- 
lin was  renominated  agent,  as  Cadwallader  Evans  wrote  to 
him,  "  without  any  dirt  being  thrown  at  you ;  —  indeed  it  is 
so  notorious  that  you  exerted  all  your  abilities  in  favour  of 
the  Colonies  that  none  now  are  so  hardy  as  to  insinuate  the 


contrary  —  even  the  great  Giant 1  acknowledged  in  the  House 
you  had  been  of  service."  Historians  have  occasionally 
censured  Franklin  for  not  more  actively  resisting  the  Stamp 
Act.  Five  tracts  concerning  the  bill,  printed  in  London  and 
Paris  (1765-69),  which  belonged  to  Franklin  and  in  which 
he  wrote  copious  notes  are  now  in  the  Lenox  Library.  A 
random  reading  of  these  abundant  and  incisive  comments  is 
sufficient  to  demonstrate  the  whole-hearted  aversion  with 
which  Franklin  regarded  "the  mother  of  mischiefs." 

One  of  these  tracts  is  entitled  "The  Claim  of  the  Colonies 
to  an  Exemption  from  Internal  Taxes  imposed  by  Authority 
of  Parliament,  examined  in  a  Letter  from  a  Gentleman  in  Lon- 
don to  a  friend  in  America"  (London,  for  W.  Johnston,  1765). 
Franklin  wrote  upon  the  title-page  "  by  Knox  Esq.  agent  for 
Georgia."  I  quote  a  few  of  his  marginalia :  — 

Knox:  "The  parliament  of  Great  Britain  has  exercised 
supreme  and  uncontrouled  jurisdiction,  internally  and  ex- 
ternally over  the  properties  and  persons  of  the  subjects  in  the 
colonies.  Yet  it  is  said,  all  these  instances  do  not  go  to  the 
point  of  an  internal  tax  that  has  never  been  imposed  by 

Franklin's  note:  "Highwaymen  on  Hounslow  Heath 
have  for  ages  past  exercised  the  same  jurisdiction  over  sub- 
jects here;  but  does  that  prove  they  had  a  Right  so  to  do?" 

Knox :  "In  the  Charter  granted  by  the  crown  to  Mr.  Perm, 
the  clause  of  exemption  is  to  this  purpose,  That  the  inhabit- 
ants of  Pennsylvania  shall  not  be  subject  to  any  taxes  or 
impositions,  other  than  such  as  shall  be  laid  by  the  House 
of  Assembly,  or  by  the  parliament  of  England.  Here  is  an 

1  The  Chief  Justice  — William  Allen. 


express  reservation  of  the  right  of  parliament  to  impose 
taxes  upon  the  people  of  Pennsylvania ;  a  right  which,  in  the 
opinion  of  a  gentleman  of  that  country,  the  only  man  whose 
account  of  North  America,  it  has  been  said,  ought  to  be  re- 
garded, is  equivalent  to  an  authority  to  declare  all  the  white 
persons  in  that  province,  negroes.  So  little  was  that  gen- 
tleman acquainted  with  the  constitution  of  the  very  province 
he  was  bom  and  resided  in." 

Franklin:  "The  Charter  says  We  nor  our  Successor  will 
impose  no  Tax,  but  such  as  shall  be  with  the  Consent  of  the 
Proprietary  &  Assembly  or  by  Act  of  Parliament.  Suppose 
it  had  said,  We  will  impose  no  Tax  on  you  but  by  Act  of  the 
States  in  Holland,  would  this  have  given  the  States  of  Holland 
a  right  to  tax  Pensilvania,  if  Holland  had  no  such  right  before  ? 
A  Right  that  never  existed  cannot  be  a  Right  Reserved. 
Holland  indeed  had  before  a  Right  of  taxing  the  Country 
afterwards  Pensilvania  and  therefore  such  a  Right  might  be 
given  to  Holland  —  If  the  Parliament  had  before  no  such 
Right  it  could  not  be  given  to  them  by  Words  hi  the  Charter." 

Knox :  "  The  question  then  will  be,  Can  the  Crown  grant 
an  exemption  to  any  Subject  of  Great  Britain  from  the  juris- 
diction of  Parliament?"  (p.  8) 

Franklin:  "The  People  of  G.  Britain  are  subjects  of  the 
King.  Great  Britain  is  not  a  sovereign.  The  Parliament 
has  Power  only  within  the  Realm." 

Knox:  "The  Crown,  considered  as  the  Executive  power, 
cannot  controul  the  legislature,  nor  dispense  with  its  acts." 
(p.  8) 

Franklin:  "Does  this  Writer  imagine  that  wherever  an 
Englishman  settles  he  is  subject  to  the  Power  of  Parlia- 


KNOX :  "Not  five  years  since  did  the  parliament  take  away 
from  the  fishmongers  of  London,  the  most  material  and  bene- 
ficial part  of  their  charter,  and  destroyed  the  peculiar  privi- 
leges the  crown  had  granted  them ;  and  yet  the  charter  of  that 
company  stood  upon  as  good  authority  as  does  the  charter  of 
any  colony  in  America."  (p.  9) 

FRANKLIN:  "It  is  not  to  the  Honour  of  a  King,  to  grant 
a  Charter  as  King,  and  afterwards  take  it  away  by  assenting 
to  an  Act  of  Parliament  for  that  purpose.  He  may  assent 
to  an  act  of  Parliament  for  putting  away  his  Queen,  tho' 
without  Cause;  but  would  this  be  just?" 

Another  tract  is  "Protest  against  the  Bill,  to  Repeal  the 
American  Stamp  Act  of  last  Session"  (Paris,  1766).  It  is 
crowded  with  marginalia,  the  suggestions  for  a  formal  reply. 

"We  have  submitted  to  your  Laws,  no  Proof  of  our  ac- 
knowledging your  Power  to  make  them.  Rather  an  Acknowl- 
edgement of  their  Reasonableness  or  of  our  own  weakness. 
Post  office  came  as  a  Matter  of  Utility.  Was  aided  by  the 
Legislature  —  Mean  to  take  Advantage  of  our  Ignorance. 
Children  should  not  be  impos'd  on :  Are  not,  even  by  honest 
shopkeepers.  A  great  and  magnificent  Nation  should  dis- 
dain to  govern  by  Tricks  and  Traps,  that  would  disgrace  a 
pettyfogging  Attorney." 

"The  sovereignty  of  the  Crown  I  understand.  The  sov7 
of  the  British  Legislature  out  of  Britain  I  do  not  understand." 

"  The  FEAR  of  being  thought  weak  is  a  Timidity  &  weak- 
ness of  the  worst  sort  as  it  betrays  into  a  Persisting  in  Errors 
that  may  be  much  more  mischievous  than  the  Appearance  of 
Weakness.  A  great  and  powerful  State  like  this  has  no  cause 


for  such  Timidity.  Acknowledging  &  correcting  an  Error 
shows  great  Magnanimity.  .  .  .  And  do  your  Lordships 
really  think  Force  &  Bloodshed  more  eligible  than  rectifying 
an  Error?" 

The  writer  of  the  tract  held  that  "This  law,  if  properly 
supported  by  Government  would  from  the  peculiar  circum- 
stances attending  the  disobedience  to  it,  execute  itself  without 
bloodshed"  (p.  15).  Franklin's  note  thereupon  reads:  "It 
has  executed  itself,  that  is  it  has  been  felo  de  se.  Observation 
in  one  of  the  Colonies  that  there  was  no  occasion  to  Execute 
their  Laws.  They  died  of  themselves.  A  Law  universally 
odious  can  never  be  executed  in  any  Government." 

Another  tract  liberally  annotated  with  Franklin's  margina- 
lia is  "  The  true  Constitutional  Means  for  putting  an  End  to 
the  Disputes  between  Great  Britain  and  the  American  Colo- 
nies" (London,  1769).  "The  directive  influence  of  the 
British  state,"  says  the  writer  "remains  with  the  British 
legislature,  who  are  the  only  proper  judges  of  what  concerns 
the  general  welfare  of  the  whole  empire"  (p.  14).  Franklin 
replies :  "  The  British  state  is  only  the  island  of  Great  Britain. 
The  British  Legislature  are  undoubtedly  the  only  proper 
judges  of  what  concerns  the  welfare  of  that  state:  But  the 
Irish  Legislature  are  the  proper  Judges  of  what  concerns  the 
Irish  state  and  the  American  Legislatures  of  what  concerns 
the  American  States  respectively.  By  the  whole  Empire  does 
this  writer  mean  all  the  King's  dominions  ?  If  so  the  British 
Parliament  should  also  govern  the  Isles  of  Jersey  &  Guernsey, 
Hanover  etc.  But  it  is  not  so."  The  author  proceeds,  "It  is 
plain  that  the  Americans  could  have  no  reason  to  complain 
of  being  exposed  to  a  disproportionate  tax  ["It  is  only  plain 


that  you  know  nothing  of  the  matter."  —  F.].  Several  of  the 
colonists  of  the  rank  of  good  livers  have  often  been  seen  to  pay 
the  price  of  a  negro  with  gold.  ["Was  not  the  gold  first 
purchased  by  the  Produce  of  the  Land,  obtained  by  hard 
labour?  Does  gold  drop  from  the  Clouds  of  Virginia  into  the 
laps  of  the  indolent  ?  "  —  F.]  As  instances  of  Virginian  luxury 
I  have  been  assured  that  there  are  few  families  there  without 
some  plate ;  ["  Their  very  purchasing  Plate  and  other  super- 
fluities from  England  is  one  means  of  disabling  them  from 
paying  Taxes  to  England.  Would  you  have  it  both  in  meal 
and  malt?"  —  F.]  and  that  at  some  entertainments  the  atten- 
dants have  appeared  almost  as  numerous  as  the  guests 
["It  has  been  a  great  Folly  in  the  Americans  to  entertain  Eng- 
lish Gentlemen  with  a  splendid  hospitality  ill  suited  to  their 
Circumstances ;  by  which  they  excited  no  other  grateful  Sen- 
timents in  their  guests  than  that  of  a  desire  to  tax  the  Land- 

Another  copiously  annotated  pamphlet  is  entitled  "An  In- 
quiry into  the  Nature  and  Causes  of  the  Disputes  between  the 
British  Colonies  in  America  and  their  Mother  Country" 
(London,  1769). 

Extract.  "  That  the  late  war  was  chiefly  kindled  and  carried 
on,  on  your  account,  can  scarcely  be  denied." 

Observation.    It  is  denied. 

"  By  the  steps  they  seem  to  take  to  shake  off  our  sovereignty." 

Our  sovereignty  again!  This  writer,  like  the  Genoese 
queens  of  Corsica,  deems  himself  a  sprig  of  royalty ! 

"For,  as  soon  as  they  are  no  longer  dependent  upon  Eng- 
land, they  may  be  assured  they  will  immediately  become  de- 
pendent upon  France." 

We  are  assured  of  the  contrary.    Weak  states,  that  are 


poor,  are  as  safe  as  great  ones,  that  are  rich.  They  are  not 
objects  of  envy.  The  trade,  that  may  be  carried  on  with 
them,  makes  them  objects  of  friendship.  The  smallest 
states  may  have  great  allies;  and  the  mutual  jealousies  of 
great  nations  contribute  to  their  security. 

"And  whatever  reasons  there  might  exist  to  dispose  them 
hi  our  favour  in  preference  to  the  French ;  yet,  how  far  these 
would  operate,  no  one  can  pretend  to  say." 

Then  be  careful  not  to  use  them  ill.  It  is  a  better  reason 
for  using  them  kindly.  That  alone  can  retain  their  friendship. 
Your  sovereignty  will  be  of  no  use,  it  the  people  hate  you. 
Keeping  them  in  obedience  will  cost  you  more  than  your  profits 
from  them  amount  to. 

"It  is  not,  indeed,  for  their  jealousy  of  their  rights  and 
liberties,  but  for  their  riotous  and  seditious  manner  of  assert- 
ing them." 

Do  you  Englishmen  then  pretend  to  censure  the  colonies 
for  riots  ?  Look  at  home ! ! !  I  have  seen,  within  a  year, 
riots  in  the  country  about  corn;  riots  about  elections;  riots 
about  work-houses ;  riots  of  colliers ;  riots  of  weavers ;  riots 
of  coal-heavers;  riots  of  sawyers;  riots  of  sailors;  riots  of 
Wilkesites ;  riots  of  government  chairmen ;  riots  of  smugglers, 
in  which  custom-house  officers  and  excisemen  have  been  mur- 
dered, the  King's  armed  vessels  and  troops  fired  at,  &c.  In 
America,  if  one  mob  rises,  and  breaks  a  few  windows,  or  tars 
and  feathers  a  single  rascally  informer,  it  is  called  REBELLION; 
troops  and  fleets  must  be  sent,  and  military  execution  talked  of 
as  the  decentest  thing  in  the  world.  Here,  indeed,  one  would 
think  riots  part  of  the  mode  of  government. 

"And  if  she  had  not  thought  proper  to  centre  almost  all 
her  care,  as  she  has  done,  upon  making  the  late  peace,  in  pro- 


curing  them  a  safe  establishment,  and  to  sacrifice  to  it,  in  a 
manner,  every  other  object,  she  might,  at  least,  expect  from 
them  a  more  decent  and  dutiful  demeanour." 

In  the  last  war,  America  kept  up  twenty-five  thousand  men 
at  her  own  cost  for  five  years,  and  spent  many  millions.  Her 
troops  were  in  all  battles,  all  service.  Thousands  of  her  youth 
fell  a  sacrifice.  The  crown  gained  an  immense  extent  of 
territory,  and  a  great  number  of  new  subjects.  Britain 
gained  a  new  market  for  her  manufactures,  and  recovered  and 
secured  the  old  one  among  the  Indians,  which  the  French  had 
interrupted  and  annihilated.  But  what  did  the  Americans 
gain  except  that  safe  establishment,  which  they  are  now  so 
taunted  with?  Lands  were  divided  among  none  of  them. 
The  very  fishery,  which  they  fought  to  obtain,  they  are  now 
restrained  in.  The  plunder  of  the  Havana  was  not  for  them. 
And  this  very  safe  establishment  they  might  as  well  have  had 
by  treaty  with  the  French,  their  neighbours,  who  would  prob- 
ably have  been  easily  made  and  continued  their  friends,  if  it 
had  not  been  for  their  connexion  with  Britain. 



IN  the  brief  calm  that  followed  the  repeal  of  the  Stamp  Act, 
Franklin  enjoyed  a  visit  to  the  Continent.  His  friend  Sir 
John  Pringle,  physician  to  the  Queen,  intended  a  journey  to 
Pyrmont  to  drink  the  waters.  They  set  forth  together,  June 
15,  1766,  and  returned  August  13,  1766.  Information  con- 
cerning this  tour  is  very  meagre.  No  letters  exist  written  at 
that  period  by  Franklin;  nor  did  he  keep  any  notes  of  his 


travels.  John  D.  Michaelis,  the  Orientalist,  was  presented 
to  him  at  Gottingen  by  a  student  named  Miinchhausen. 
Michaelis  ventured  a  prophecy  that  the  colonies  would  one 
day  release  themselves  from  England.  Franklin  replied  that 
the  Americans  had  too  much  love  for  their  mother  country, 
to  which  Michaelis  said,  "I  believe  it,  but  almighty  interest 
would  soon  outweigh  that  love  or  extinguish  it  altogether." 
Another  scholar  who  profited  at  the  same  time  and  place  by 
Franklin's  conversation  was  Achenwall,  who  in  the  following 
year  published  in  the  Hanoverische  Magazine  "Some  Obser- 
vations on  North  America  and  the  British  Colonies,  from 
verbal  information  furnished  by  Mr.  B.  Franklin."  In 
conclusion  Achenwall  said,  "I  doubt  not  that  other  men  of 
learning  in  this  country  have  used  their  acquaintance  with 
this  honoured  man  as  well  as  I.  Could  they  be  persuaded  to 
give  the  public  their  noteworthy  conversation  with  him,  it 
would  be  doing  the  public  a  great  benefit."  * 

A  few  days  before  Franklin  left  England  he  asked  leave 
of  the  Pennsylvania  Assembly  to  return  home  in  the  spring. 
His  request  appears  to  have  been  ignored,  and  on  the  first  day 
of  the  new  session  he  was  again  appointed  as  the  agent  of  the 
colony.  Georgia  passed  an  ordinance,  April  n,  1768,  au- 
thorizing him  to  act  as  agent  for  that  colony  at  a  salary  of  one 
hundred  pounds  a  year,  his  service  to  begin  June  i,  I768;2 
and  the  House  of  Representatives  of  New  Jersey,  November 

1  These  observations  were  reprinted  in  1769  at  Frankfurt  and  Stuttgart, 
and   in   1777   at   Helmstedt.     See   also  Johan  Putters'  "  Selbstbiographie," 
Gottingen,  1793,  Vol.  II,  p.  490,  for  a  brief  account  of  Franklin's  visit. 

2  The  ordinance  was  reenacted,  February  27,  1770.     The  dissolution  of 
the  Assembly  prevented  the  ordinance  from  going  through  its  regular  forms. 
Georgia  formally  recorded  a  vote  of  thanks  to  Franklin  for  his  conduct  of  the 
affairs  of  the  commonwealth,  March  13,  1774. 

VOL.  X  — R 


8, 1769,  unanimously  chose  him  their  representative  in  London 
at  a  like  salary.1 

For  a  twelvemonth  after  his  return  from  Germany  Frank- 
lin was  busied  with  questions  of  paper  money  for  the  colonies,3 
and  the  creation  of  "barrier  states"  by  which  he  hoped  to  pro- 
vide permanent  defences  for  the  Atlantic  settlements  and  at  the 
same  time  to  send  a  stream  of  immigration  into  the  western 
country.3  In  the  summer  of  1767  certain  physical  symptoms 
warned  him  to  slacken  his  efforts.  He  was  socially  indulgent 
and  physically  indolent.  He  had  already  had  several  attacks 
of  gout.  To  keep  his  health  he  found  it  necessary  to  take 
occasional  journeys  into  strange  countries.  A  slight  but  re- 
current giddiness  decided  him  to  cross  the  Channel.  In 
company  with  Sir  John  Pringle  he  started  for  France  on  the 
twenty-eighth  of  August,  1767,  and  remained  there  until  the 
eighth  of  October.4  The  travellers  were  presented  to  the 
King,  and  Franklin  wrote  a  familiar  description  of  the  Grand 
Convert,  where  the  royal  family  supped  in  public,  to  his  friend 
Mary  Stevenson,  qualifying  his  admiration  for  the  foreign 
court  by  saying,  "I  would  not  have  you  think  me  so  well 
pleased  with  this  King  and  Queen,  as  to  have  a  whit  less  regard 
than  I  used  to  have  for  ours.  No  Frenchman  shall  go  beyond 
me  in  thinking  my  own  King  and  Queen  the  very  best  in  the 
world,  and  the  most  amiable."5 

1  The  appointment  was  continued  during  the  time  of  Franklin's  residence 
in  London. 

z  See  Vol.  V,  p.  i.  »  Ibid.,  p.  467. 

*  At  that  time  the  Dover  machine  set  out  every  morning  at  five  o'clock 
from  the  White  Bear,  Piccadilly,  the  Golden  Cross,  or  the  Bear  at  Westmin- 
ster Bridge.  It  reached  Dover  the  same  night.  Fare  (inside)  twenty  shillings, 
fourteen  pounds  of  baggage  allowed  free,  and  all  above  that  weight  charged 
for  at  three  halfpence  a  pound.  The  passage  to  Calais  cost  ten  shillings  and 
sixpence.  Franklin  stopped  at  the  Calais  Inn,  —  "  La  Table  Royale." 

6  See  letter  to  Mary  Stevenson,  September  14,  1767. 


Immediately  upon  his  return  to  London  news  arrived 
of  the  retaliatory  measures  adopted  in  Boston  upon  the 
recent  revenue  acts  of  Parliament.  In  Pennsylvania  and 
New  England  the  people  were  again  resolved  to  import  no 
more  British  manufactures,  but  to  establish  such  industries 
at  home.  The  demand  for  British  goods  was  constantly 
diminishing.  Lynn,  Massachusetts,  made  yearly  eighty 
thousand  pairs  of  women's  shoes  better  and  cheaper  than 
any  made  abroad,  and  not  alone  supplied  the  towns  of  New 
England  but  sent  large  quantities  to  the  Southern  Colonies 
and  the  West  Indies.  Humphry  Marshall  wrote  to  Franklin 
expressing  a  hope  that  the  American  people  would  not  forget 
the  cause  of  their  late  resentment  but  would  continue  to 
manufacture  the  articles  necessary  for  their  use.  The 
newspapers  of  England  were  in  full  cry  against  America. 
Franklin  wrote  to  his  son,  "Colonel  Onslow  told  me  at  court 
last  Sunday,  that  I  could  not  conceive  how  much  the  friends 
of  America  were  run  upon  and  hurt  by  them,  and  how  much 
the  Grenvillians  triumphed."1 

To  correct  the  English  view  of  the  agitation  in  America  he 
wrote  "Causes  of  the  American  Discontents  before  i768."2 
When  John  Dickinson's  "  Farmer's  Letters"  reached  England, 
Franklin  was  so  favourably  impressed  by  the  common  sense, 
sane  argument,  and  perspicuous  manner  with  which  his  old 
adversary  had  stated  the  case  for  the  Americans  that  he 
immediately  published  the  work  in  London  with  a  preface 
of  his  own  writing. 

To  add  to  the  uncertainties  of  the  time  numerous  politi- 
cal changes  took  place.  Lord  Hillsborough  replaced  Lord 

1  To  William  Franklin,  December  IO,  1767. 
•  See  Vol.  V,  p.  78. 


Shelburne  and  was  made  Secretary  of  State  for  America,  a 
new  and  distinct  department.  Conway  resigned  and  Lord 
Weymouth  succeeded  him.  Lord  Northington  retired  from 
the  Presidency  of  the  Council  and  Lord  Gower  assumed  the 
duties  of  that  office.  Lord  Sandwich  became  postmaster-gen- 
eral, and  several  of  the  reactionaries,  members  of  the  House 
of  Bedford,  followed  him  into  office.  A  confidential  letter 
written  by  Franklin  to  his  son,  July  2,  1768  (Vol.  V,  pp.  142- 
48),  gives  a  graphic  account  of  the  political  manceuvres  and 
the  wary  walking  that  he  was  obliged  to  do  to  avoid  the  pit- 
falls prepared  for  him.  His  partnership  with  David  Hall 
being  dissolved,  Franklin  was  deprived  of  one  thousand 
pounds  a  year,  an  income  which  he  had  enjoyed  for  eighteen 
years.  He  was  now  to  some  extent  dependent  upon  his 
official  salary.  He  knew  that  the  ministry  were  criticising 
his  long  stay  in  England  and  asking  what  service  he  was 
rendering  to  justify  his  continuance  as  deputy  postmaster  in 
America.  The  Duke  of  Grafton  and  Lord  North  held  before 
him  the  allurement  of  a  permanent  position  in  England  as 
under  secretary  to  the  newly  created  American  office.  He 
wrote  to  his  son,  "For  my  own  thoughts  I  must  tell  you  that 
though  I  did  not  think  fit  to  decline  any  favour  so  great  a 
man  expressed  an  inclination  to  do  me,  because  at  court  if 
one  shows  an  unwillingness  to  be  obliged,  it  is  often  construed 
as  a  mark  of  mental  hostility,  and  one  makes  an  enemy; 
yet  so  great  is  my  inclination  to  be  at  home,  and  at  rest,  that 
I  shall  not  be  sorry  if  this  business  falls  through,  and  I  am 
suffered  to  retire  with  my  old  post ;  nor  indeed  very  sorry  if 
they  take  that  from  me  too  on  account  of  my  zeal  for  America, 
in  which  some  of  my  friends  have  hinted  to  me  that  I  have 
been  too  open.  ...  If  Mr.  Grenville  comes  into  power 


again,  in  any  department  respecting  America,  I  must  refuse 
to  accept  of  any  thing  that  may  seem  to  put  me  in  his  power, 
because  I  apprehend  a  breach  between  the  two  countries." 

Nothing  came  of  the  good  wishes  of  the  Duke  of  Grafton, 
and  Franklin  refused  to  be  drawn  by  the  ill-tempered  abuse 
levelled  at  him  in  the  newspapers.  He  knew  that  his  ene- 
mies were  seeking  to  provoke  him  to  resign.  "In  this," 
he  said  to  his  sister,  "they  are  not  likely  to  succeed,  I  being 
deficient  in  that  Christian  virtue  of  resignation.  If  they 
would  have  my  office,  they  must  take  it." 

There  are  abundant  evidences  in  Franklin's  correspondence 
that  he  was  apprehensive  of  a  disaster  impending  over 
England.  Lawless  riot  and  confusion  were  about  him  in 
1768.  He  looked  upon  mobs  patrolling  the  streets  at  noon, 
roaring  for  Wilkes  and  Liberty,  coal  heavers  and  porters 
pulling  down  the  houses  of  coal  merchants  who  refused  to 
give  them  more  wages,  sawyers  destroying  sawmills,  soldiers 
firing  upon  the  mob  and  killing  men,  women,  and  children. 
All  respect  of  law  and  government  seemed  lost.  A  great 
black  cloud  seemed  to  Franklin  to  be  coming  on,  ready  to 
burst  in  a  general  tempest.  "What  the  event  will  be  God 
only  knows.  But  some  punishment  seems  preparing  for  a 
people,  who  are  ungratefully  abusing  the  best  constitution, 
and  the  best  King,  any  nation  was  ever  blest  with,  intent  on 
nothing  but  luxury,  licentiousness,  power,  places,  pensions, 
and  plunder."  1  The  dread  of  some  terrible  calamity  lurk- 
ing in  the  future,  and  the  haunting  fear  of  national  separa- 
tion caused  him  to  counsel  temperance  and  forbearance  in 
America,  and  to  try  by  all  his  logical  persuasion  to  justify  and 
commend  his  countrymen  in  England. 

1  To  John  Ross,  May  14,  1768. 


His  writings  were  always  conciliatory,  irenic.  He  sought 
by  every  means  in  his  power  to  splinter  the  broken  joint  be- 
tween the  colonies  and  old  England.  From  the  first  he  was 
loyal  to  the  English  government.  He  assured  Lord  Chatham 
that  "having  more  than  once  travelled  almost  from  one  end 
of  the  continent  to  the  other  and  kept  a  great  variety  of  com- 
pany, eating,  drinking  and  conversing  freely  with  them, 
I  never  had  heard  in  any  conversation  from  any  person, 
drunk  or  sober,  the  least  expression  of  a  wish  for  a  separa- 
tion, or  hint  that  such  a  thing  would  be  advantageous  to 

The  British  empire  he  likened,  with  homely  comparison, 
to  a  handsome  China  vase,  —  'twere  a  great  pity  to  break  it ; 
and  he  was  convinced  that  the  dismemberment  of  the  empire 
would  mean  ruin  to  all  its  parts.  When  it  was  urged  that  in 
time  the  colonies  by  their  growth  would  become  the  dominant 
half,  he  answered,  "Which  is  best,  to  have  a  total  separation, 
or  a  change  of  the  seat  of  government?"1  Here  he  seems 
occasionally  to  have  caught  a  glimpse  of  an  historic  vision  of 
which  Lord  Rosebery  in  dream  has  seen  the  phantom  retro- 
spect. Is  it  fanciful,  asks  that  eloquent  statesman,  to  dwell 
for  a  moment  on  what  might  have  happened  if  the  elder 
Pitt  had  not  left  the  House  of  Commons  when  he  became 
first  minister?  "He  would  have  prevented  or  suppressed  the 
reckless  budget  of  Charles  Townshend,  have  induced  George 
III  to  listen  to  reason,  introduced  representatives  from  Amer- 
ica into  the  Imperial  Parliament,  and  preserved  the  thirteen 
American  colonies  to  the  British  crown.  The  reform  bill 
would  probably  have  been  passed  much  earlier,  for  the  new 

1  Bishop  Tucker  said  it  was  well  known  that  Franklin  wanted  to  transfer 
the  seat  of  government  to  America. 


blood  of  America  would  have  burst  the  old  vessels  of  the 
Constitution.  And  when,  at  last,  the  Americans  became 
the  majority,  the  seat  of  Empire  would  perhaps  have  been 
moved  solemnly  across  the  Atlantic,  and  Britain  have 
become  the  historical  shrine  and  European  outpost  of 
the  world  empire.  What  an  extraordinary  revolution  it 
would  have  been  had  it  been  accomplished.  The  most 
sublime  transference  of  power  in  the  history  of  mankind. 
The  greatest  sovereign  in  the  greatest  fleet  in  the  uni- 
verse; ministers,  government,  Parliament,  departing  sol- 
emnly for  the  other  hemisphere;  not  as  in  the  case  of 
the  Portuguese  sovereigns  emigrating  to  Brazil  under 
the  spur  of  necessity,  but  under  the  vigorous  embrace  of 
the  younger  world."1 

Some  such  vision  wavered  at  times  before  the  mind  of 
Franklin  as  he  reflected  upon  the  discontented  politics  of 
the  troubled  years  before  the  Revolution.  But  after  years 
of  labour  he  could  only  say,  "I  do  not  find  that  I  have  gained 
any  point  in  either  country,  except  that  of  rendering  myself 
suspected  by  my  impartiality ;  in  England  of  being  too  much 
an  American,  and  in  America  of  being  too  much  an  Eng- 
lishman." He  was  entirely  in  accord  with  Burke  and 
Chatham,  touching  the  unity  and  integrity  of  the  empire  and 
with  regard  to  the  unjust  taxation  of  America.  To  those  who 
regretted  the  repeal  of  the  Stamp  Act  he  said:  "I  can  only 
judge  of  others  by  myself.  I  have  some  little  property  in 
America.  I  will  freely  give  nineteen  shillings  in  the  pound  to 
defend  the  right  of  giving  or  refusing  the  other  shilling ;  and 
after  all,  if  I  cannot  defend  that  right,  I  can  retire  cheerfully 
with  my  little  family  into  the  boundless  woods  of  America 

1  Lord  Rosebery's  Rectorial  Address  at  the  University  of  Glasgow. 


which  are  sure  to  afford  freedom  and  subsistence  to  any  man 
who  can  bait  a  hook  or  pull  a  trigger." 

After  the  Boston  massacres,1  Franklin  was  chosen  by  the 
Assembly  of  Massachusetts,  October  24,  1770,  to  be  their 
agent  in  London,  "to  appear  for  the  House  at  the  Court  of 
Great  Britain"  and  to  sustain  their  interests,  "before  his 
Majesty  in  Council,  or  in  either  House  of  Parliament,  or 
before  any  public  board."  Thomas  Gushing,  the  Speaker 
of  the  Assembly,  transmitted  to  him  the  certificate  of  his 
appointment.  Franklin  replied  that  he  esteemed  the  appoint- 
ment the  greater  honour  as  it  was  unsolicited  on  his  part, 
and  that  he  would  be  very  happy  if  in  that  capacity  he  could 
render  the  country  any  acceptable  service.  Lord  Hills- 
borough  was  now  secretary,  a  man  whose  character  accord- 
ing to  Franklin  was  "conceit,  wrong-headedness,  obstinacy 
and  passion."  A  few  weeks  after  receiving  his  credentials 
Franklin  called  upon  Hillsborough  when  an  interview  oc- 
curred of  which  he  made  a  faithful  record  in  his  journal  and 
sent  a  copy  to  Rev.  Samuel  Cooper,  his  confidential  corre- 
spondent hi  Boston.  The  secretary's  speech  was  tart,  and  his 
manner  testy.  The  conversation  is  given  in  full  in  Vol.  V, 
pp.  298-304,  and  it  is  unnecessary  to  repeat  here  more  than 
the  calm  and  satisfied  comment  of  Franklin  upon  the  inter- 
view. Hillsborough  having  refused  to  recognize  Franklin  as 

1  "  At  a  Meeting  of  the  Freeholders  &  other  Inhabitants  of  the  Town  of 
Boston  duly  qualified  &  legally  warned  in  public  Town  Meeting  assembled 
at  Faneuil  Hall,  on  Thursday  the  22d.  day  of  March,  A.D.  1770. 

"  VOTED  that  the  Hon :  James  Bowdoin  Esq.  Dr :  Joseph  Warren  &  Samuel 
Pemberton  Esq.  a  Committee  appointed  on  the  13*  Instant  to  make  Repre- 
sentations of  the  late  horrid  Massacre  in  Boston  by  the  Soldiery,  be  desired 
to  transmit  by  the  Packet  to  Benjamin  Franklyn  Esq.  LL.D.  a  printed  Copy  of 
such  Representations. 


"  WILLIAM  COOPER  Town  Clerk." 


the  duly  accredited  representative  of  Massachusetts,  Franklin 
withdrew,  saying,  "It  is  I  believe  of  no  great  importance 
whether  the  appointment  is  acknowledged  or  not,  for  I  have 
not  the  least  conception  that  an  agent  can  at  present  be  of 
any  use  to  any  of  the  colonies.  I  shall,  therefore,  give  your 
Lordship  no  further  trouble."  Hillsborough  took  great 
offence  at  these  last  words  and  characterized  them  as  "rude 
and  abusive."  They  were  equivalent,  he  told  one  of  Frank- 
lin's friends,  to  telling  him  to  his  face  that  neither  favour  nor 
justice  during  his  administration  could  be  expected  by  the 
colonies.  "I  find  he  did  not  mistake  me,"  said  Franklin. 

This  new  Hillsborough  doctrine  that  no  agent  should  be 
received  except  such  as  had  been  appointed  by  a  regular 
act  of  the  Assembly,  approved  by  the  governor,  placed 
additional  barriers  between  the  colonies  and  the  government 
of  England.  The  agent  could  no  longer  transact  the  business 
of  the  people,  save  by  the  consent  of  a  governor  who  might  be 
opposed  to  the  interests  of  the  people.  Moreover,  it  gave 
to  the  English  minister  the  power,  through  his  instructions 
to  the  royal  governor,  to  prevent  the  appointment  of  any 
agents  who  might  not  be  his  pliant  tools.  Hillsborough 
stubbornly  persisted  in  his  interpretation  of  the  colonial  rela- 
tions and  obtained  a  vote  of  the  Board  of  Trade  forbidding 
an  agent  who  had  been  otherwise  elected  to  appear  before 
that  body.  In  reference  to  this  condition  Franklin  addressed 
the  following  open  letter  to  Dennis  de  Berdt,  the  English 
agent  for  the  Assembly  of  the  Massachusetts  Bay. 


"  In  the  Gazetteer  of  Friday,  Aug.  26,  you  have  [been  so 
obliging  as  to  inform  us,  that  the  Report  insinuating  that  the 
Earl  of  Hillsborough  had  neglected  to  deliver  a  Petition  from 


the  Assembly  of  the  Massachusetts  Bay  to  his  Majesty,  was 
groundless,  his  Lordship  not  having  even  seen  the  Petition  at 
the  time  of  such  Report. 

"  We  are  very  subject  to  be  impos'd  on  by  Reports  espe- 
cially such  as  convey  any  Reflection  upon  Ministers,  an 
Order  of  Men  of  whom  we  have  not  generally  the  best  Opin- 
ion. It  is  therefore  kind  to  us  as  well  as  to  them,  to  set  us 
right  when  we  are  misled.  And  as  such  Reports  are  generally 
varied  according  to  the  Ignorance  or  Malice  of  the  Reporters, 
it  would  be  well  if  all  their  Variations  could  be  answered  with 
a  Clearness  equal  to  yours  in  that  above  mentioned. 

"  Now  since  it  must  be  as  much  hi  your  Power,  we  hope  and 
trust  you  will  be  as  ready  to  refute  this,  'That  his  Lordship 
having  had  from  Governor  Barnard  an  Account  of  the  Pur- 
port of  the  Assembly's  Petition,  refused  to  receive  it  from  you 
on  a  Distinction  newly  started,  to  wit,  that  you  were  not  a 
regularly  appointed  Agent,  being  authoris'd  only  by  the 
Assembly,  to  transact  their  Business  here,  the  Governor  not 
having  consented  to  your  Appointment.'  We  would  just 
observe  that  this  state  of  the  Report  is  more  probable  than  the 
other,  it  being  as  unlikely  that  his  Lordship  should  neglect 
to  present  a  Petition  he  had  once  received,  as  it  is  that  you 
would  neglect  to  offer  it  to  him. 

"We  are  Sir,  Yours,  etc. 


"P.  S.  Excuse  us  if  we  add,  that  tho'  we  have  no  right 
to  ask  what  the  Reasons  were,  that,  in  your  Letters  of  March 
last,  you  gave  to  the  Assembly,  for  not  proceeding  with  their 
Petition ;  yet,  as  in  their  Message  to  the  Governor  of  June  the 
30th  when  they  had  probably  received  those  Letters,  they  say, 


'it  had  been  revealed  there  that  the  late  Provincial  Applica- 
tions for  Redress  of  Grievances  had  been  somehow  strangely 
obstructed?  And  as  the  Assembly  of  Maryland,  in  their 
Message  to  their  Governor,  hint  at  '  an  Attempt  in  some  of 
his  Majesty's  Ministers  to  prevent  the  Supplications  of 
America  from  reaching  the  Royal  Ear';  we  own  it  would 
be  extreamly  agreable  to  us  to  be  rightly  informed  in  this 
important  Affair:  And  if  you  are,  as  we  believe  you  are, 
more  desirous  of  obliging  the  Publick,  and  serving  your 
Constituents,  than  of  screening  a  Minister,  we  doubt  not  you 
will  give  us  all  reasonable  Satisfaction."1 

Franklin  had  now  intrusted  to  him  the  affairs  of  four 
colonies,  but  he  could  do  little  more  than  attempt  to  mould 
public  opinion  by  letters  to  the  newspapers,  and  to  keep  the 
colonists  informed  of  the  changes  and  tendencies  of  English 
parties  and  politics.  He  wrote  solemnly  to  the  Committee 
of  Correspondence  in  Massachusetts  (May  15,  1771),  "I 
think  one  may  clearly  see  the  seeds  sown  of  a  total  disunion  of 
the  two  countries,  though,  as  yet,  that  event  may  be  at  a 
considerable  distance."  He  foresaw  that  the  British  nation 
and  government  would  become  odious,  and  the  subjection 
to  it  intolerable ;  that  war  would  ensue,  ending  in  the  probable 
ruin  of  Britain  by  the  loss  of  her  colonies.  "  But  as  the  whole 
empire  must,  in  either  case,  be  greatly  weakened,  I  cannot 
but  wish  to  see  much  patience  and  the  utmost  discretion  in  our 
general  conduct,  that  the  fatal  period  may  be  postponed,  and 
that,  whenever  this  catastrophe  shall  happen,  it  may  appear 
to  all  mankind,  that  the  fault  has  not  been  ours."  *  With 
such  gloomy  forebodings  Franklin  lived  in  1771.  Great 

1  From  the  rough  draft  in  A.  P.  S.  *  See  Vol.  V,  p.  318. 


empires,  he  reminded  Lord  Chatham,  have  always  crumbled 
at  their  extremities,  and  the  apprehension  of  this  dissolution 
was  now  settling  in  his  mind  into  conviction. 

In  the  spring  of  1771,  he  visited  the  manufacturing  towns  of 
England,  and  called  upon  Priestley  at  Leeds,  Dr.  Percival 
at  Manchester,  Erasmus  Darwin  at  Litchfield,  and  Dr. 
Brownrigg  in  Cumberland.  In  July  and  August  he  spent 
three  weeks  at  Twyford  in  Hampshire,  at  Chilbolton,  the 
residence  of  Jonathan  Shipley,  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph.  It 
was  during  this  sojourn  that  he  began,  in  a  room  that  was 
ever  after  known  by  the  family  as  Franklin's  room,  the  famous 
"Autobiography."  Provided  with  letters  of  introduction 
from  "the  good  Bishop,"  he  set  out  August  20,  1771,  with  his 
old  friend,  Richard  Jackson,  to  visit  Ireland.  He  was  received 
in  that  country  "by  both  parties,  the  courtiers  and  the  patriots ; 
the  latter  treating  him  with  particular  respect."  Entertained 
by  "gentlemen,  extremely  opulent,  living  in  the  highest 
affluence  and  magnificence,"  he  was  chiefly  impressed  by  the 
poor  tenants  living  in  sordid  wretchedness  in  dirty  hovels  of 
mud  and  straw,  and  clothed  only  in  rags.  "  Had  I  never  been 
in  the  American  colonies,"  he  wrote  to  Joshua  Babcock,1 
"but  were  to  form  my  judgment  of  civil  society  by  what  I 
have  lately  seen,  I  should  never  advise  a  nation  of  savages  to 
admit  of  civilization ;  for  I  assure  you,  that,  in  the  possession 
and  enjoyment  of  the  various  comforts  of  life,  compared  to 
these  people,  every  Indian  is  a  gentleman,  and  the  effect  of 
this  kind  of  civil  society  seems  to  be,  the  depressing  multitudes 
below  the  savage  state,  that  a  few  may  be  raised  above  it." 

Franklin  met  accidentally  with  Lord  Hillsborough  at  the 
lord-lieutenant's  in  Dublin.  The  secretary  was  surpris- 

1  January  13,  1772. 


ingly  civil  and  pressed  Franklin  and  his  companions  to  call 
upon  him  at  Hillsborough.  Franklin  complied  with  the 
invitation,  and  spent  four  days  at  his  country-house.  Hills- 
borough  entertained  him  with  great  civility  and  said  that  he 
had  always  been  of  opinion  that  America  ought  not  to  be  re- 
strained in  manufacturing  anything  she  could  manufacture  to 
advantage.  He  ordered  his  eldest  son,  Lord  Kilwarling,  to 
drive  him  a  round  of  forty  miles  that  he  might  see  the  country, 
the  seats,  and  manufactures.  His  attentions  were  inexplicable 
to  Franklin,  but  on  the  supposition  that  he  apprehended  an 
approaching  storm,  and  was  desirous  of  lessening  before- 
hand the  number  of  enemies  he  had  so  imprudently  created. 
It  was  Franklin's  desire  to  see  some  of  the  principal  Irish 
patriots ;  he  therefore  stayed  in  Dublin  until  the  opening  of 
the  Irish  Parliament.  He  found  them  disposed  to  be  friends 
of  America  in  which  he  endeavoured  to  confirm  them.  Rich- 
ard Jackson  being  a  member  of  the  English  Parliament,  was 
admitted,  in  accordance  with  custom,  to  sit  in  the  House 
among  the  members.  Franklin  was  about  to  proceed  to  the 
gallery  when  the  Speaker  acquainted  the  House  that  an 
American  gentleman  of  distinguished  character  and  merit, 
a  member  of  some  of  the  Parliaments  of  that  country,  was 
desirous  of  being  present  at  the  debates  of  the  House;  that 
he  supposed  the  standing  rule  of  the  House  for  admitting 
members  of  English  Parliaments  would  apply  also  to  American 
Assemblies,  but,  as  this  was  the  first  instance  he  would  ask 
for  the  directions  of  the  House.  "On  the  question,  the 
House  gave  a  loud,  unanimous  Ay;  when  two  members 
came  to  me  without  the  bar,  led  me  in  between  them,  and 
placed  me  honourably  and  commodiously." l 

•     !  To  William  Franklin,  January  30,  1772. 


Seven  weeks  Franklin  stayed  in  Ireland,  and  then  pro- 
ceeded to  Scotland  for  a  further  sojourn  of  four  weeks.  He 
spent  five  days  with  Lord  Kames  at  Blair  Drummond,  near 
Stirling,  two  or  three  days  at  Glasgow,  two  days  at  Carron 
Iron  Works,  and  the  rest  of  the  month  in  Edinburgh,  lodging 
with  David  Hume.  His  old  acquaintances,  Sir  Alexander 
Dick,  Drs.  Robertson,  Cullen,  Black,  Ferguson,  Russel,  and 
others  renewed  the  civilities  with  which  they  had  received 
him  on  his  first  joyous  visit  to  the  "Athens  of  the  North." 

Returning  into  England,  he  turned  aside  at  Preston,  in 
Lancashire,  to  meet  his  son-in-law,  Richard  Bache,  whom 
he  had  not  before  seen.  He  was  favourably  impressed  with 
Mr.  Bache's  "agreeable  behaviour,"  and  pleased  that  his 
mother  and  sisters  were  "genteel  and  agreeable  people."1 

The  three  months  of  travelling  in  countries  new  to  him, 
and  of  social  diversion  among  friends  old  and  dear  to  him 
had  been  delightfully  refreshing,  but  when  once  more  in 
London,  in  January,  1772,  he  grew  restless  and  impatient 
under  the  enforced  inactivity  of  his  position.  He  grew 
homesick,  and  apprehensive  of  the  approach  of  some  of  the 
infirmities  of  age.  Death  seemed  not  far  distant,  and  some 
important  business  affairs  beckoned  him  back  to  the  dear 
country  from  which  he  had  so  long  been  in  a  state  of  exile. 
His  spirits  rose  again  with  the  resignation  from  office  of  Lord 
Hillsborough,  "the  omniscient  and  infallible  minister,"  and 
the  succession  to  the  secretaryship  of  Lord  Dartmouth  who 
had  always  expressed  great  regard  for  Franklin  and  friend- 
ship for  America.  In  the  getting  rid  of  Hillsborough  Franklin 
played  a  leading  part.  In  1766  a  company  had  been  formed, 
in  which  William  Franklin,  Joseph  Galloway,  Colonel 

1  Sarah  Franklin  was  married  to  Richard  Bache,  October  29,  1767. 


Croghan,  Samuel  Wharton,  and  Sir  William  Johnson  were 
interested,  to  purchase  lands  of  the  French  west  of  the  Alle- 
ghany  Mountains  and  to  establish  a  new  colony  there.  The 
plan  of  purchasing  the  lands  was  soon  abandoned,  and  the 
company,  consisting  of  twelve  Americans  and  certain  Eng- 
lishmen "of  character  and  fortune,"  recommended  by  Dr. 
Franklin,  applied  to  the  crown  for  a  tract  of  land  between  the 
Alleghanies  and  the  Ohio  River.  At  Franklin's  request 
Thomas  Walpole,  a  wealthy  financier,  became  the  head  of 
the  enterprise,  and  the  territory  was,  in  consequence,  known 
as  "Walpole's  Grant."  Franklin  urged  it  as  one  means  of 
saving  expense  in  supporting  the  outposts,  enumerated  among 
its  advantages  the  furnishing  provisions  cheaper  to  the 
garrisons,  securing  the  country,  retaining  the  trade,  and 
"raising  a  strength  there,  which  on  occasion  of  a  future  war 
might  easily  be  poured  down  the  Mississippi  upon  the  lower 
country,  and  into  the  Bay  of  Mexico,  to  be  used  against  Cuba 
or  Mexico  itself."  The  petition  was  referred  to  the  Board 
of  Trade  where  it  lay  inactive  for  five  years.  Hillsborough 
was  president  of  the  Board  of  Trade  and  was  secretly  opposed 
to  the  grant.  To  Mr.  Walpole  and  Dr.  Franklin  when  they 
asked  for  two  million  five  hundred  thousand  acres,  he  said, 
"Ask  for  enough  to  make  a  province,"  whereupon  Franklin 
calmly  asked  for  twenty-three  million  acres.  The  report  of 
the  Board  of  Trade,  drawn  up  by  Lord  Hillsborough,1  opposed 
the  grant  on  the  ground  that  "if  a  vast  territory  be  granted 
to  any  set  of  gentlemen  who  really  mean  to  people  it,  and 
actually  do  so,  it  must  draw  and  carry  out  a  great  number  of 
people  from  Great  Britain,  and  I  apprehend  they  will  soon 
become  a  kind  of  separate  and  independent  people  and  who 

1  See  Vol.  V,  pp.  465  et  seq. 


will  set  up  for  themselves;  and  they  will  soon  have  manu- 
factures of  their  own;  that  they  will  neither  take  supplies 
from  the  mother  country  nor  from  the  provinces  at  the  back 
of  which  they  are  settled ;  that  being  at  a  distance  from  the 
seat  of  government,  courts  and  magistrates,  they  will  be  out 
of  the  reach  and  control  of  law  and  government ;  that  it  will 
become  a  receptacle  and  kind  of  asylum  for  offenders  who 
will  flee  from  justice  to  such  new  country  or  colony."  Frank- 
lin prepared  an  able  and  complete  reply,1  exposing  the 
fallacies  and  follies  in  Hillsborough's  report,  and  repeating 
the  advantages  that  would  flow  alike  to  the  colonies  and  to 
Great  Britain.  His  answer  was  presented  to  the  Privy  Coun- 
cil, and  the  petition  was  approved.  Hillsborough,  mortified 
and  offended  by  the  action  of  the  Council,  tendered  his  resig- 

Lord  Dartmouth  succeeded  Lord  Hillsborough.  He  was  a 
friend  of  Dr.  Franklin,  and  it  was  believed  that  Franklin  was 
instrumental  in  obtaining  his  appointment.  At  his  first 
interview  Franklin  handed  to  Lord  Dartmouth  a  petition  from 
the  Assembly  of  Massachusetts.  Governor  Hutchinson  had 
been  receiving  his  salary  from  the  crown,  an  innovation 
indignantly  resented  by  Massachusetts,  and  he  had  justified 
the  measure  in  his  speeches  to  the  House,  and  had  asserted 
the  authority  of  Parliament  over  the  colonies.  The  Assembly 
passed  resolutions  of  censure  and  petitioned  the  king  to 
correct  these  grievances.  Dartmouth  advised  Franklin  not 
to  present  the  petition,  that  it  could  not  possibly  be  productive 
of  good,  and  that  it  would  only  offend  his  Majesty.  Franklin 
asked  if  his  Lordship  had  received  any  late  advices  from 
Boston.  Dartmouth  replied,  "None  since  the  governor's 

1  See  Vol.  V,  pp.  479-527. 


second  speech.  But  what  difficulties  that  gentleman  has 
brought  us  all  into  by  his  imprudence !  Though  I  suppose 
he  meant  well ;  yet  what  can  now  be  done  ?  It  is  impossible 
that  Parliament  can  suffer  such  a  declaration  of  the  General 
Assembly,  asserting  its  independency,  to  pass  unnoticed." 
Franklin  replied  that  in  his  judgement  it  would  be  better 
to  take  no  notice  of  it.  "Acts  of  Parliament  are  still  sub- 
mitted to  there.  No  force  is  used  to  obstruct  their  execution. 
.  .  .  Violent  measures  against  the  province  will  not  change 
the  opinion  of  the  people.  Force  could  do  no  good."  It  was 
Dartmouth's  opinion  that  force  would  not  be  thought  of,  but 
perhaps  an  act  might  be  passed  to  lay  the  colonies  under 
some  inconveniences  till  they  rescinded  that  declaration. 
Could  they  not  withdraw  it  ?  Franklin  replied  that  such  an 
act  would  only  put  the  colonies  on  some  method  of  incom- 
moding England  till  the  act  were  repealed,  "and  so  we  shall 
go  on  injuring  and  provoking  each  other,  instead  of  cultivat- 
ing that  good  will  and  harmony  so  necessary  to  the  general 

"He  said  that  might  be,  and  he  was  sensible  our  divisions 
must  weaken  the  whole;  'for  we  are  yet  one  empire?  said  he, 
'whatever  may  be  the  sentiments  of  the  Massachusetts 
Assembly';  but  he  did  not  see  how  that  could  be  avoided,- 
He  wondered,  as  the  dispute  was  now  of  public  notoriety.^ 
Parliament  had  not  already  called  for  the  dispatches;  and 
he  thought  he  could  not  omit  much  longer  the  com- 
municating them,  however  unwilling  he  was  to  do  it, 
from  his  apprehension  of  the  consequences.  'But  what,' 
his  Lordship  was  pleased  to  say,  'if  you  were  in  my 
place,  would  or  could  you  do?  Would  you  hazard  the 
being  called  to  account  in  some  future  session  of  Par- 
VOL.X — s 


liament,  for  keeping  back  the  communication  of  dispatches 
of  such  importance?' 

"I  said,  'his  Lordship  could  best  judge  what,  in  his  situa- 
tion, was  fittest  for  him  to  do;  I  could  only  give  my  poor 
opinion  with  regard  to  Parliament,  that,  supposing  the  dis- 
patches laid  before  them,  they  would  act  most  prudently 
in  ordering  them  to  lie  on  the  table,  and  take  no  further 
notice  of  them.  For  were  I  as  much  an  Englishman  as  I 
am  an  American,  and  ever  so  desirous  of  establishing  the 
authority  of  Parliament,  I  protest  to  your  Lordship  I  cannot 
conceive  of  a  single  step  the  Parliament  can  take  to  increase 
it,  that  will  not  tend  to  diminish  it ;  and  after  abundance  of 
mischief  they  must  finally  lose  it.'"  The  remainder  of  this 
very  interesting  interview  is  reported  hi  full  by  Franklin  in  his 
letter  to  Thomas  Gushing,  May  6,  1773. 

We  are  now  approaching  the  critical  event  in  the  life  of 
Franklin  that  rendered  impossible  the  further  maintenance  of 
his  mediatorial  position  between  England  and  the  colonies. 
It  was  the  famous  affair  of  the  Hutchinson  letters,  one  of  the 
commonplaces  of  American  history.  Certain  letters  written 
by  Thomas  Hutchinson,  royal  governor  of  Massachusetts, 
to  friends  in  England,  in  which  he  recommended  the  sending 
to  America  of  troops  and  men  of  war,  and  advised  the  govern- 
ment that  in  the  colonies  "there  must  be  an  abridgement  of 
what  are  called  English  liberties,"  fell  into  the  hands  of 
Franklin.  How  he  became  possessed  of  them  remains  a 
mystery.  The  source  was  undivulged  by  him.  In  the 
elaborate  "Tract  relative  to  the  Affair  of  Hutchinson's  Let- 
ters,"1 which  he  wrote  in  1774,  Franklin  said  that  in  the 
latter  part  of  1772  he  was  speaking  with  some  resentment  to 

1  See  Vol.  VI,  pp.  258-289. 


|  "a  gentleman  of  character  and  distinction,"  about  the  send- 

ing of  troops  to  Boston  and  their  behaviour  to  the  people  there, 
and  expressing  the  infinite  uneasiness  it  gave  him  to  learn  that 
it  was  considered  there  as  a  national  measure,  and  as  a  proof 
that  Britain  had  no  longer  a  parental  regard  for  the  colonists. 
The  gentleman  assured  him  that  this  offensive  measure  and 
all  the  other  grievances  did  not  originate  with  the  ministry 
or  even  in  England,  but  that  they  were  "projected,  proposed 
to  Administration,  solicited  and  obtained  by  some  of  the  most 
respectable  among  the  Americans  themselves,  as  necessary 
measures  for  the  welfare  of  that  country."  Franklin  doubted 
the  probability  of  such  a  statement,  whereupon  the  gentleman 
undertook  to  convince  him,  and  through  him  his  country- 
men. Some  days  later  he  called  upon  Franklin  and  pro- 
duced a  budget  of  letters  from  Governor  Hutchinson,  Secre- 
tary Oliver,  and  others.  The  address  of  the  letters  had  been 
removed,  but  they  were  said  to  have  been  written  to  William 
Whately,  a  recently  deceased  member  of  Parliament,  and 
were  evidently  intended  to  influence  Mr.  Grenville  and  his 
party.1  Six  of  the  letters  were  written  by  Hutchinson,  four 
by  Oliver,  and  the  other  three  by  Robert  Auchmuty,  Charles 
Paxton,  and  Nathaniel  Rogers.  They  narrated  events  in 
Boston  from  June,  1768,  to  October,  1769.  They  described 
the  people  as  factious  and  incendiary,  recommended  that  the 
"officers  of  the  crown  be  made,  in  some  measure,  indepen- 
dent of  the  people,"  that  the  people  be  punished  and  that  the 
penalties  be  of  another  kind  than  mere  penal  duties,  and  that 
"there  must  be  an  abridgement  of  what  are  called  English 
liberties."  The  billeting  of  troops  in  Boston  and  the  depen- 

1  William  Whately  had  been  private  secretary  to  Mr.  Grenville  and  later 
had  been  appointed  by  him  secretary  to  the  lords  of  the  treasury. 


dence  of  the  Governor  and  judges  upon  the  British  govern- 
ment for  their  salaries  were  plainly  recommended  and  solicited 
by  the  officials  of  Massachusetts. 

The  holder  of  the  letters  refused  to  permit  Franklin  to 
make  copies  of  them,  but  as  it  was  his  wish  to  convince  the 
Americans  as  he  had  convinced  their  Agent,  he,  at  last, 
allowed  Franklin  to  send  the  original  letters  to  Boston  on  con- 
dition that  they  should  not  be  printed,  that  no  copies  should 
be  taken  of  them,  that  they  should  be  shown  only  to  a  few 
of  the  leading  people  of  the  government,  and  that  they  should 
be  carefully  returned.  The  first  reference  to  the  transmission 
of  the  letters  is  in  a  communication  from  Franklin  to  Thomas 
Gushing,  dated  December  2, 1772  :  "On  this  occasion  I  think 
it  fit  to  acquaint  you,  that  there  has  fallen  into  my  hands  part 
of  a  correspondence  that  I  have  every  reason  to  believe  laid 
the  foundation  of  most  if  not  all,  our  present  grievances  .  .  . 
in  confidence  of  your  preserving  inviolably  my  engagement, 
I  send  you  enclosed  the  original  letters,  to  obviate  every 
pretence  of  unfairness  in  copying,  interpolation,  or  omis- 
sion." Gushing  showed  the  letters  to  Drs.  Chauncy,  Cooper, 
and  Winthrop,  to  the  Committee  of  Correspondence  of  the 
Massachusetts  Assembly,  and  to  a  few  other  leading  citizens. 
John  Adams  carried  them  on  his  circuit  and  showed  them  to 
whom  he  pleased.  Franklin  approved  of  the  publicity  given 
to  them  and  wrote:  "I  have  permission  to  let  the  originals 
remain  with  you  as  long  as  you  may  think  it  of  any  use.  .  .  . 
I  am  allowed  to  say  that  they  may  be  shown  and  read  to  whom 
and  as  many  as  you  think  proper." 

The  Assembly  met  in  June  and  listened  to  the  reading 
of  the  letters.  They  resolved  to  petition  the  king  to  remove 
Hutchinson  and  Oliver  from  office.  The  petition  was  sent 


to  Franklin  and  reached  him  about  the  time  that  copies  of  a 
pamphlet  containing  the  letters  arrived  in  England.  They 
were  published  in  the  London  newspapers  and  caused  much 
inquiry  as  to  the  source  from  which  they  had  been  derived. 
Thomas  Whately,  the  brother  of  the  deceased  recipient  of  the 
letters,  fell  under  suspicion ;  he  himself  believed  that  John 
Temple,  formerly  governor  of  New  Hampshire,  who  had 
taken  some  of  his  own  letters  from  among  the  Whately 
papers,  had  at  the  same  time  abstracted  this  American 
correspondence.  A  writer  in  the  Public  Advertiser  (Decem- 
ber 8,  1772)  charged  Temple  with  having  taken  the  letters 
dishonourably,  and  quoted  Thomas  Whately,  well  known  as 
a  London  banker,  as  his  authority.  Temple  immediately 
sought  Whately,  denied  any  knowledge  of  the  letters,  and 
demanded  a  public  exoneration  from  him.  The  follow- 
ing day  Whately  published  in  the  Advertiser  a  statement  to 
the  effect  that  Mr.  Temple  had  asked  permission  to  take  back 
certain  of  his  letters  which  existed  among  William  Whately's 
papers.  Permission  had  at  once  been  granted.  "He,  and 
he  only,  had  ever  had  access  to  any  of  the  letters  of  my 
brother's  correspondents  in  America."  .  .  .  "Mr.  Temple 
assured  me,  in  terms  the  most  precise  that  (except  some 
letters  from  himself  and  his  brother,  which  he  had  from 
me  by  my  permission)  he  had  not  taken  a  single  letter,  or 
an  extract  from  any,  I  had  communicated  to  him.  I  saw 
him  twice  afterwards  on  the  same  subject,  and  the  same 
assurances  were  invariably  repeated  by  him,  and  confirmed 
by  him  in  the  most  solemn  manner."  The  statement  was 
not  at  all  satisfactory  to  Temple.  It  seemed  to  him  "strongly 
to  corroborate  the  anonymous  charge."  Whately  had  omitted 
to  state  "what  was  wholly  essential,  that  he  did  not  know  the 


letters  in  question  were  among  those  he  put  into  my  hands, 
and  that  none  of  those  he  had  intrusted  to  me  appeared  to  be 
missing."  Thus  given,  as  he  thought,  the  lie  direct,  Temple 
challenged  Whately.  The  challenge  was  borne  by  Ralph 
Izard  of  South  Carolina,  but  as  Whately  in  accepting  it  de- 
clined to  name  a  second,  the  principals  went  alone  to  the  field 
of  honour  in  the  morning  of  December  n,  1773.  Pistol 
shots  were  fired  without  effect,  and  the  duel  was  then  fought 
with  swords,  when  Whately  was  twice  severely  wounded. 
Neither  contestant  was  satisfied,  the  bad  feeling  continued 
and  found  expression  in  wild  stories  in  the  newspapers,  and 
it  was  currently  reported  that  as  soon  as  Whately  recovered 
from  his  wounds  a  second  encounter  would  take  place. 
Franklin  had  remained  silent  at  the  time  of  the  duel,  for  his 
lips  were  sealed  by  the  gentleman  from  whom  he  had  received 
the  letters  and  who  had  given  him  what  Franklin  deemed  an 
important  reason  for  desiring  that  his  name  should  be  con- 
cealed. When,  however,  he  learned  that  the  duel  was  to  be 
repeated,  he  thought  it  time  to  interpose,  and  therefore  wrote 
to  the  printer  of  the  Public  Advertiser  (December  25,  1773), 
declaring  that  he  alone  was  the  person  who  obtained  and 
transmitted  the  letters  in  question  to  Boston.  They  could 
not  be  communicated  by  Mr.  Thomas  Whately  or  by  Mr. 
Temple,  for  they  were  never  in  the  possession  of  either 

Some  of  his  friends  applauded  his  courage,  others  feared 
that  he  was  imprudent  and  that  the  administration  would 
resent  his  frank  avowal  of  sending  the  letters.  He  read  in  one 
of  the  London  papers  that  he  was  "one  of  the  most  deter- 
mined enemies  of  the  welfare  and  prosperity  of  Great  Britain." 
He  entertained  little  fear  of  serious  consequences  to  himself, 


and  occupied  himself  seriously  with  the  preparation  for  his 
departure  to  America  to  settle  some  business  with  the  post- 
office  there.  The  king,  it  was  supposed,  would  consider 
in  his  cabinet  the  Massachusetts  petition  for  the  recall  of 
Governor  Hutchinson.  Suddenly,  as  a  bolt  from  the  blue, 
he  received  notice  from  the  Clerk  of  the  Council  that  the  Lords 
of  the  Committee  for  Plantation  Affairs  would  meet  at  the 
Cockpit  on  Tuesday,  January  n,  1774,  at  noon,  to  consider 
the  petition  referred  to  them  by  his  Majesty,  and  that  his 
presence  would  be  required.  It  was  already  Saturday. 
The  time  for  consideration  was  brief.  He  sent  for  Arthur 
Lee,  then  a  student  of  law  in  London,  who  had  been  chosen 
by  the  legislature  of  Massachusetts  to  succeed  Franklin  in  the 
event  of  his  absence  or  death.  Lee  was  at  Bath.  Sunday 
morning  he  called  upon  Bollan,  a  barrister  and  London  agent 
of  the  Council  of  Massachusetts.  He  found  that  Bollan  had 
also  received  notice  to  attend  the  meeting  at  the  Cockpit. 
It  was  Bollan's  opinion  that  counsel  should  not  be  employed. 
Lee  had  not  yet  been  called  to  the  bar.  Distinguished  law- 
yers were  fearful  of  offending  the  court  and  thereby  jeopardiz- 
ing their  prospects  of  promotion.  Bollan  would  move  to  be 
heard  in  behalf  of  the  Council  of  the  province,  and  take  occa- 
sion to  support  the  petition  himself.  Very  late  on  Monday 
afternoon  Franklin  learned  that  Israel  Mauduit,  agent  for 
the  governor  and  lieutenant-governor,  had  asked  and  obtained 
leave  to  be  heard  by  counsel,  and  had  retained  Alexander 
Wedderbum,  the  solicitor-general. 

At  the  meeting  on  the  following  day  the  petition  was  read, 
and  Franklin  was  called  upon  to  speak  in  support  of  it.  In 
accordance  with  their  concerted  plan,  he  stated  that  Mr. 
Bollan  would  speak  to  the  petition.  Objection  was  imme- 


diately  made  that  Bollan  was  not  a  party  to  the  petition. 
Several  times  he  attempted  to  speak,  but  after  repeated 
interruptions  he  was  ordered  to  desist.  Franklin  then  said 
that  with  the  petition  of  the  House  of  Representatives  he  had 
received  their  resolutions  which  preceded  it,  and  a  copy  of  the 
letters  on  which  those  resolutions  were  founded.  These  he 
offered  in  support  of  the  petition.  The  Resolutions  were 
read.  Then  occurred  the  following  inquisition: — 

"Mr.  Wedderburn.  The  Address  mentions  certain  papers; 
I  could  wish  to  be  informed  what  are  those  papers. 

"  Dr.  Franklin.  They  are  the  letters  of  Mr.  Hutchinson  and 
Mr.  Oliver. 

"Court.  [Lord  Chief  Justice  De  Grey.]  Have  you  brought 

"Dr.  Franklin.  No;   but  here  are  attested  copies. 

"Court.  Do  you  mean  to  found  a  charge  upon  them?  If 
you  do,  you  must  produce  the  letters. 

"Dr.  Franklin.  These  copies  are  attested  by  several 
gentlemen  at  Boston,  and  a  notary  public. 

"Mr.  Wedderburn.  My  Lord,  we  shall  not  take  advantage 
of  any  imperfection  hi  the  proof.  We  admit  that  the  letters 
are  Mr.  Hutchinson's  and  Mr.  Oliver's  handwriting ;  reserv- 
ing to  ourselves  the  right  of  inquiring  how  they  were  obtained. 

"Dr.  Franklin.  I  did  not  expect  that  counsel  would  have 
been  employed  on  this  occasion. 

"Court.  Had  you  not  notice  sent  you  of  Mr.  Mauduit's 
having  petitioned  to  be  heard  by  counsel,  on  behalf  of  the 
governor  and  lieutenant-governor? 

"Dr.  Franklin.  I  did  receive  such  notice;  but  I  thought 
this  had  been  a  matter  of  politics,  not  of  law,  and  have  not 
brought  my  counsel. 


"Court.  Where  a  charge  is  brought,  the  parties  have  a 
right  to  be  heard  by  counsel  or  not,  as  they  choose. 

"Mr.  Mauduit.  My  Lords,  I  am  not  a  native  of  that 
country,  as  these  gentlemen  are.  I  know  well  Dr.  Franklin's 
abilities,  and  wish  to  put  the  defence  of  my  friends  upon  a 
parity  with  the  attack.  He  will  not  therefore  wonder  that  I 
choose  to  appear  before  your  Lordships  with  the  assistance  of 
counsel.  My  friends,  in  their  letters  to  me,  have  desired, 
(if  any  proceedings,  as  they  say,  should  be  had  upon  this 
Address)  that  they  may  have  a  hearing  in  their  own  justifi- 
cation, that  their  innocence  may  be  fully  cleared,  and  their 
honour  vindicated ;  and  have  made  provision  accordingly. 
I  do  not  think  myself  at  liberty,  therefore,  to  give  up  the 
assistance  of  my  counsel,  hi  def  ending  them  against  this  unjust 

"Court.  Dr.  Franklin  may  have  the  assistance  of  counsel, 
or  go  on  without  it,  as  he  shall  choose. 

"Dr.  Franklin.  I  desire  to  have  counsel. 

"Court.   What  tiihe  do  you  want? 

"Dr.  Franklin.   Three  weeks. 

"Ordered,  that  the  further  proceedings  be  on  Saturday, 
29th  instant." 

Wedderburn.  —  "Although,  to  save  your  lordship's  time,  I 
have  admitted  these  to  be  true  copies  of  the  original  letters, 
I  give  notice  that  when  the  matter  comes  on  again,  I  shall 
exercise  the  right  to  ask  certain  questions  as  how  the  Assem- 
bly came  into  possession  of  them,  through  what  hands,  and 
by  what  means  they  were  procured." 

Court  —  "Certainly;  and  to  whom  they  were  directed; 
for  the  perfect  understanding  of  the  passages  may  depend 
on  that  and  other  such  circumstances.  We  can  receive  no 


charge  against  a  man  founded  on  letters  directed  to  nobody, 
and  perhaps  received  by  nobody.  The  laws  of  this  country 
have  no  such  practice." 

Franklin  proceeded  at  once  to  prepare  his  case.  Several 
friends  advised  him  to  retain  John  Dunning,  formerly 
solicitor-general  and  afterwards  Lord  Ashburton,  the  cleverest 
as  he  was  the  homeliest  lawyer  practising  at  the  English  bar. 
Franklin  would  have  waited  to  consult  with  Arthur  Lee, 
supposing  that  he  might  prefer  his  friend  Sergeant  Glynn, 
famous  for  his  defence  of  John  Wilkes.  He  was  anxious, 
however,  to  learn  Dunning's  opinion  as  to  his  own  conduct  if 
questions  should  be  asked  of  him  concerning  the  history  of 
the  letters.  Upon  this  point  the  great  lawyer  was  clear  that 
Franklin  was  not  obliged  to  answer  such  questions  against 
his  will.  He  promised  to  attend  the  meeting  and  object 
to  their  putting  such  questions. 

Until  the  2Qth  of  the  month  the  papers  continued  to  de- 
nounce Franklin  as  an  incendiary,  who  should  be  dismissed 
from  office  and  sent  to  Newgate.  Mr.  Lee,  coming  up  from 
Bath,  undertook  to  engage  Sergeant  Glynn  who  was  "in  a 
fit  of  the  gout"  and  unable  to  attend.  The  counsel  retained 
were  Dunning  and  John  Lee,  afterwards  solicitor-general 
under  Fox. 

The  little  apartment  in  the  Cockpit  was  crowded  upon 
the  2  Qth  of  January.  Thirty-five  members  of  the  Privy 
Council  attended  —  a  number,  Burke  said,  without  precedent 
in  his  memory.  The  Lord  President  Gower  sat  at  the  head 
of  the  table.  Among  the  distinguished  personages  were 
Lord  North,  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  Lord  Shelburne, 
Edmund  Burke,  and  the  Americans  —  Arthur  Lee,  Ralph 
Izard,  and  Dr.  Bancroft.  Among  the  interested  onlookers 


were  Jeremy  Bentham  and  Joseph  Priestley.  The  latter, 
who  had  got  through  the  crowd  that  thronged  the  anteroom, 
upon  the  arm  of  Edmund  Burke,  said,  in  his  account  of  the 
scene  contributed  to  the  Monthly  Magazine  in  1802,  that 
Franklin  stood  in  a  corner  of  the  room,  without  the  least 
apparent  emotion.  Dr.  Bancroft  gave  a  slightly  different 
account  in  a  communication  to  William  Temple  Franklin :  — 

"Dr.  Franklin  did  not  'stand  in  a  corner  of  the  room,'  he 
stood  close  to  the  fireplace,  on  that  side  which  was  at  the 
right  hand  of  those,  who  were  looking  toward  the  fire;  in 
the  front  of  which,  though  at  some  distance,  the  members  of 
the  Privy  Council  were  seated  at  a  table.  I  obtained  a  place 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  fireplace,  a  little  further  from  the 
fire;  but  Dr.  Franklin's  face  was  directed  towards  me,  and 
I  had  a  full,  uninterrupted  view  of  it,  and  his  person,  during 
the  whole  time  in  which  Mr.  Wedderburn  spoke.  The  Doctor 
was  dressed  in  a  full  dress  suit  of  spotted  Manchester  velvet, 
and  stood  conspicuously  erect,  without  the  smallest  movement 
of  any  part  of  his  body.  The  muscles  of  his  face  had  been 
previously  composed,  so  as  to  afford  a  placid,  tranquil  ex- 
pression of  countenance,  and  he  did  not  suffer  the  slightest 
alteration  of  it  to  appear  during  the  continuance  of  the 
speech,  in  which  he  was  so  harshly  and  improperly  treated. 
In  short,  to  quote  the  words  which  he  employed  concerning 
himself  on  another  occasion,  he  kept  his  'countenance  as 
immovable  as  if  his  features  had  been  made  of  wood.'  " 

The  hearing  began  with  the  reading  of  Franklin's  letter  to 
Lord  Dartmouth,1  enclosing  the  petition,  then  the  petition, 
the  resolutions  of  the  Assembly,  and  lastly  the  letters.  Frank- 
lin's counsel,  according  to  his  opinion,  "acquitted  themselves 

1  August  21,  1773. 


very  handsomely."  Mr.  Dunning  stated  that  no  cause  had 
been  instituted,  and  no  prosecution  was  intended.  The  As- 
sembly appealed  to  the  wisdom  and  goodness  of  his  Maj- 
esty ;  it  was  a  favour  they  were  asking,  not  justice  that  they 
were  demanding.  "As  the  Assembly  had  no  impeachment 
to  make,  so  they  had  no  evidence  to  offer."  Burke  was  im- 
pressed with  the  excellence  of  Dunning's  address :  his  points 
were  "well  and  ably  put,"  Burke  told  Lord  Rockingham. 
In  his  reply  Wedderburn  rehearsed  what  he  called  a  history 
of  the  province  for  the  previous  ten  years,  bestowing  liberal 
abuse  upon  the  Assembly  and  the  people  of  Massachusetts. 
Then  turning  upon  Franklin  he  assailed  him  with  ribald 
invective,  so  gross  that  large  passages  were  omitted  by  the 
friends  of  Wedderburn  when  the  address  was  published. 

It  was  a  scene,  as  Lecky  has  said,  well  suited  to  the  brush 
of  an  historical  painter.  For  more  than  an  hour  Franklin 
stood,  tranquilly,  silently,  before  his  malignant  adversary, 
his  coolness  and  apathy  in  striking  contrast  with  the  violence 
and  clamour  of  the  Scotch  declaimer,  while  grave  men 
clapped  their  hands  in  boundless  amused  delight  at  the  bait- 
ing of  the  American. 

"The  letters  could  not  have  come  to  Dr.  Franklin,"  said 
Wedderburn,  "by  fair  means.  The  writers  did  not  give 
them  to  him;  nor  yet  did  the  deceased  correspondent,  who 
from  our  intimacy  would  otherwise  have  told  me  of  it.  Noth- 
ing, then,  will  acquit  Dr.  Franklin  of  the  charge  of  obtaining 
them  by  fraudulent  or  corrupt  means,  for  the  most  malignant 
of  purposes ;  unless  he  stole  them  from  the  person  who  stole 
them.  This  argument  is  irrefragable. 

"I  hope,  my  Lords,  you  will  mark  and  brand  the  man, 
for  the  honour  of  this  country,  of  Europe,  and  of  mankind. 


Private  correspondence  has  hitherto  been  held  sacred,  in 
times  of  the  greatest  party  rage,  not  only  in  politics  but 
religion."  "He  has  forfeited  all  the  respect  of  societies  and 
of  men.  Into  what  companies  will  he  hereafter  go  with  an 
unembarrassed  face,  or  the  honest  intrepidity  of  virtue? 
Men  will  watch  him  with  a  jealous  eye ;  they  will  hide  their 
papers  from  him,  and  lock  up  their  escritoires.  He  will 
henceforth  esteem  it  a  libel  to  be  called  a  man  of  letters;  homo 
TRIUM  l  literarum ! 

"But  he  not  only  took  away  the  letters  from  one  brother; 
but  kept  himself  concealed  till  he  nearly  occasioned  the 
murder  of  the  other.  It  is  impossible  to  read  his  account, 
expressive  of  the  coolest  and  most  deliberate  malice,  with- 
out horror."  [Here  he  read  the  letter  dated  December  2$th, 
1773;  Dr.  Franklin  being  all  the  time  present.]  "Amidst 
these  tragical  events,  of  one  person  nearly  murdered,  of  an- 
other answerable  for  the  issue,  of  a  worthy  governor  hurt  in 
his  dearest  interests,  the  fate  of  America  in  suspense;  here 
is  a  man,  who,  with  the  utmost  insensibility  of  remorse,  stands 
up  and  avows  himself  the  author  of  all.  I  can  compare  it 
only  to  Zanga,  in  Dr.  Young's  Revenge. 

" '  Know  then  'twas  —  I ; 

I  forged  the  letter,  I  disposed  the  picture  ; 
I  hated,  I  despised,  and  I  destroy.' 

I  ask,  my  Lords,  whether  the  revengeful  temper  attributed 
by  poetic  fiction  only,  to  the  bloody  African,  is  not  surpassed 
by  the  coolness  and  apathy  of  the  wily  American?" 

Jeremy  Bentham  said  of  the  orator's  manner :  "  I  was  not 
more  astonished  at  the  brilliancy  of  his  lightning,  than  as- 
tounded by  the  thunder  that  accompanied  it.  As  he  stood 

1  That  is,  FUR,  or  thief. 


the  cushion  lay  on  the  council  table  before  him ;  his  station 
was  between  the  seats  of  two  of  the  members,  on  the  side 
of  the  right  hand  of  the  Lord  President.  I  would  not  for 
double  the  greatest  fee  the  orator  could  on  that  occasion  have 
received,  been  in  the  place  of  that  cushion;  the  ear  was 
stunned  at  every  blow  ...  the  table  groaned  under  the 
assault."  Dr.  Priestley  said :  "At  the  sallies  of  his  sarcastic 
wit,  all  the  members  of  the  Council,  the  President  himself 
not  excepted,  frequently  laughed  outright.  No  person  be- 
longing to  the  Council  behaved  with  decent  gravity,  except 
Lord  North,  who,  coming  late,  took  his  stand  behind  the 
chair  opposite  to  me."  Burke  and  Shelburne  were  out- 
raged by  the  violence  and  vulgarity  of  the  attack :  the  former 
spoke  of  it  as  "beyond  all  bounds  and  decency,"  and  the 
latter  wrote  to  Lord  Chatham  of  Wedderburn's  "most 
scurrilous  invective"  and  of  "the  indecency  of  his  behaviour." 

In  leaving  the  room  Franklin  pressed  Priestley's  hand  in  a 
way  that  indicated  much  feeling.  The  next  day  (Sunday) 
they  breakfasted  together  in  Craven  Street,  when  Franklin 
remarked  upon  the  fortifying  power  of  a  good  conscience, 
"for  that,  if  he  had  not  considered  the  thing  for  which  he 
had  been  so  much  insulted,  as  one  of  the  best  actions  of  his 
life,  and  what  he  should  certainly  do  again  in  the  same  cir- 
cumstances, he  could  not  have  supported  it." 

On  Monday  morning  Franklin  received  a  letter  from  the 
secretary  of  the  post-office,  laconically  informing  him  that 
the  postmaster-general  had  "found  it  necessary"  to  dismiss 
him  from  the  office  of  deputy  postmaster-general  in  America. 
The  expression,  said  Franklin,  was  well  chosen,  "  for  in  truth 
they  were  under  a  necessity  of  doing  it ;  it  was  not  their  own 


However  we  may  poise  the  cause  in  the  scales  of  history, 
and  however  we  may  decide  upon  the  merits  of  Franklin's 
part  in  the  affair  of  the  letters,  it  must  always  be  remembered 
as  the  critical  incident  which  converted  Franklin  into  a 
stubborn  opponent  of  the  British  government,  and  changed 
the  American  sentiment  toward  him  from  lukewarm  admira- 
tion to  inflamed  respect,  enthusiasm,  and  affection. 

It  was  the  one  cherished  hatred  of  his  life,  and  how  deep 
the  poisoned  shaft  had  sunk  into  his  soul  we  may  perhaps 
infer  from  the  well-authenticated  story  that  four  years  later, 
when  the  treaty  of  alliance  with  France  was  signed,  Franklin 
dressed  himself  for  that  day's  historic  achievement  hi  the 
same  Manchester  cloak  of  velvet  which  he  last  wore  when  he 
stood  under  the  pitiless  storm  of  Wedderburn's  vituperation.1 

It  has  often  been  said  that  the  story  of  the  cloak  is  a 
legend,  and  that  it  has  no  foundation  in  fact.  The  only  error 
is  in  supposing  that  the  suit  was  worn  when  the  Treaty  of 
Peace  was  signed.  It  was  first  told  by  Priestley,  and  verified 
by  Dr.  Bancroft.  The  following  is  the  version  given  by  the 
latter :  "  It  had  been  intended  that  these  treaties  [commerce 
and  eventual  alliance  with  France]  should  be  signed  on  the 
evening  of  Thursday,  the  5th  of  February;  and  when  Dr. 
Franklin  had  dressed  himself  for  the  day,  I  observed  that 
he  wore  the  suit  in  question ;  which  I  thought  the  more  re- 
markable, as  it  had  been  laid  aside  for  many  months.  This 
I  noticed  to  Mr.  Deane;  and  soon  after,  when  a  messen- 

1  Horace  Walpole  was  the  author  of  a  once  famous  epigram  upon  Wedder- 
burn  and  Franklin :  — 

"  Sarcastic  Sawney,  swol'n  with  spite  and  prate 
On  silent  Franklin  poured  his  venal  hate. 
The  calm  philosopher,  without  reply, 
Withdrew,  and  gave  his  country  liberty." 


ger  came  from  Versailles,  with  a  letter  from  Mr.  Gerard  the 
French  plenipotentiary,  stating  that  he  was  so  unwell,  from 
a  cold,  that  he  wished  to  defer  coming  to  Paris  to  sign  the 
treaties,  until  the  next  evening,  I  said  to  Mr.  Deane, '  Let  us 
see  whether  the  Doctor  will  wear  the  same  suit  of  clothes 
to-morrow;  if  he  does,  I  shall  suspect  that  he  is  influenced 
by  a  recollection  of  the  treatment  which  he  received  at  the 
Cockpit.'  The  morrow  came,  and  the  same  clothes  were 
again  worn,  and  the  treaties  signed.  After  which,  these 
clothes  were  laid  aside,  and,  so  far  as  my  knowledge  extends, 
never  worn  afterwards.  I  once  intimated  to  Dr.  Franklin 
the  suspicion,  which  his  wearing  these  clothes  on  that  occa- 
sion had  excited  in  my  mind,  when  he  smiled,  without  telling 
me  whether  it  was  well  or  ill  founded.  I  have  heard  him 
sometimes  say,  that  he  was  not  insensible  to  injuries,  but 
that  he  never  put  himself  to  any  trouble  or  inconvenience 
to  retaliate."1 



THE  tone  of  Franklin's  comment  upon  English  politics  is 
noticeably  changed  after  the  scene  in  the  Cockpit.  He  wrote 
to  Joseph  Galloway,  deploring  any  approach  to  a  closer 
union  between  the  countries.  He  drew  vivid  contrasts  be- 

1  In  the  diary  of  Dr.  Benjamin  Rush,  the  manuscript  of  which  is  in  the 
possession  of  the  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia,  occurs  the  report  of  a 
conversation  between  Silas  Deane  and  Franklin  as  they  went  together  to  the 
signing  of  the  treaty  of  alliance.  "  Why  do  you  wear  that  old  coat  to-day?  " 
asked  Deane.  "  To  give  it  its  revenge !  "  replied  Franklin. 


tween  the  "extreme  corruption  prevalent  among  all  orders 
of  men  in  the  old  rotten  state"  of  England,  and  the  "glorious 
public  virtue  so  predominant  in  the  rising  country"  of 
America.  He  expressed  a  fear  that  England  would  drag 
the  colonies  after  them  in  all  the  plundering  wars  which 
their  desperate  circumstances,  injustice,  and  rapacity  might 
prompt  them  to  undertake.  He  wrote :  "  Here  numberless 
and  needless  places,  enormous  salaries,  pensions,  perquisites, 
bribes,  groundless  quarrels,  foolish  expeditions,  false  accounts 
or  no  accounts,  contracts  and  jobs,  devour  all  revenue,  and 
produce  continual  necessity  in  the  midst  of  natural  plenty. 
I  apprehend,  therefore,  that  to  unite  us  intimately  will  only 
be  to  corrupt  and  poison  us  also.  It  seems  like  Mezentius's 
coupling  and  binding  together  the  dead  and  the  living, — 

" '  Tormenti  genus,  et  sanie  taboque  fluent es, 
Complexu  in  misero,  longa  sic  morte  necabat.' 

"However,  I  would  try  anything,  and  bear  anything  that 
can  be  borne  with  safety  to  our  just  liberties,  rather  than 
engage  in  a  war  with  such  relations,  unless  compelled  to  it 
by  dire  necessity  in  our  own  defence."  l 

Josiah  Quincy  dined  with  Franklin,  March  3,  1775,  and 
had  three  hours'  conversation  with  him,  the  substance  of 
which  he  relates  in  his  Diary.  Franklin  dissuaded  from 
France  and  Spain  and  was  emphatic  that  no  step  of  great 
consequence,  unless  upon  a  sudden  emergency,  should  be 
taken  without  advice  of  the  Continental  Congress.  "Ex- 
plicitly, and  in  so  many  words,  said  that  New  England  alone 
could  hold  out  for  ages  against  this  country,  and  if  they  were 
firm  and  united,  in  seven  years  would  conquer  them.  Said 
he  had  the  best  intelligence  that  the  manufacturers  were 

1  To  Joseph  Galloway,  February  25,  1775. 
VOL.  i — T 


feeling  bitterly,  and  loudly  complaining  of  the  loss  of  the 
American  trade.  Let  your  adherence  be  to  the  non-im- 
portation and  non-exportation  agreement,  a  year  from  next 
December  or  to  the  next  session  of  Parliament,  and  the  day 
is  won." 

The  same  conviction  is  expressed  in  the  following  letter  to 
his  son :  — 


"London,  June  3oth,  1774. 

"I  hear  a  non-importation  agreement  is  intended.  If  it  is 
general,  and  the  Americans  agree  in  it,  the  present  Ministry 
will  certainly  be  knocked  up,  and  their  Act  repealed ;  other- 
wise they  and  their  measures  will  be  continued,  and  the 
Stamp  Act  revived. 

"  The  Scotch  in  resentment  of  the  Parliament's  refusing  to 
lay  an  additional  duty  on  foreign  linen,  or  to  give  a  bonus 
upon  theirs,  are  entering  into  like  agreements  with  regard  to 
cloth  and  hats  from  England,  and  are  setting  up  large 
manufactures  of  both,  which  will  be  an  additional  distress  to 
manufacturers  here. 

"  I  should  be  sorry  if  Ireland  is  included  in  your  agreement, 
because  that  country  is  much  our  friend,  and  the  want  of 
flax-seed  may  distress  them  exceedingly,  but  your  merchants 
can  best  judge.  It  can  only  be  meant  against  England,  to 
ensure  a  change  of  measures,  and  not  to  hurt  Ireland,  with 
whom  we  have  no  quarrel. 

"  The  Bill  for  laying  duties  on  spirits  and  liquors  imported 
into  Quebec  appoints  three-pence  a  gallon  in  what  is  from 

1  From  the  original  in  the  possession  of  the  Earl  of  Leicester.  Published 
in  "  Memoirs  of  the  Marquis  of  Rockingham  "  (Albemarle),  II,  299. 


Britain,  six-pence  on  what  comes  from  the  West  Indies,  and 
twelve-pence  on  all  from  any  part  of  North  America,  or  any 
foreign  country;  so  that  after  all  our  expense  in  helping  to 
conquer  Canada  for  this  Crown,  we  are  put  on  the  footing 
of  foreigners,  in  our  trade  with  it.  Will  this,  in  a  future  war, 
encourage  us  to  assist  in  more  conquests?" 

While  the  great  drama  of  politics  was  developing  about 
him,  and  the  action  was  hastening  on  perhaps  to  a  stupen- 
dous catastrophe,  Franklin  still  found  abundant  means  to 
satisfy  his  craving  for  social  life.  He  made  acquaintances 
readily,  and  men  of  various  occupations  and  professions 
were  eager  to  know  him  and  to  profit  by  his  astonishing 
stores  of  information  and  the  alertness  and  versatility  of  his 
mind.  He  attended  the  literary  evenings  of  Mrs.  Montagu, 
and  met  Garrick  at  Lord  Shelburne's  country  seat.  He 
knew  Benjamin  West,  Horatio  Gates,  Charles  Lee,  John 
Hawkesworth,  Burke,  Hume,  Kames,  Sir  John  Pringle,  Dr. 
Fothergill,  and  Dr.  Canton.  He  dined  frequently  with  cer- 
tain scientists  and  liberal  clergymen,  who  constituted  what  he 
was  wont  to  call  "the  club  of  honest  Whigs,"  at  the  London 
Coffee  House  in  Ludgate  Hill.  With  Richard  Price  he  be- 
came acquainted  at  St.  Paul's  Coffee  House ;  Dr.  Price  was 
then  preaching  every  Sunday  morning  at  Hackney,  at  the 
meeting  in  the  Gravel  Pit  field  near  the  Church,  and  in  the 
afternoon  at  three  o'clock  at  Newington  Green,  whither 
Franklin  and  Sir  John  Pringle  occasionally  came  to  hear 
him.  Another  favorite  dining  place  on  Thursdays  was  at 
the  Dog  Tavern  on  Garlick  Hill.  Occasionally  he  sat  down 
with  the  Society  of  Friends  to  the  Cause  of  Liberty,  at  Paul's 
Head  Tavern,  Cateaton  Street,  where,  upon  the  4th  of 


November,  the  Society  drank  to  the  landing  of  King  William 
and  to  the  Glorious  Revolution. 

At  home  in  Craven  Street  his  friends  kept  him  well  pro- 
vided with  good  cheer.  His  wife  sent  him  barrels  of  New- 
town  pippins,  casks  of  hickory  nuts,  and  Indian  meal, 
cranberries,  and  dried  fish.  William  Franklin  sent  a  keg  of 
dried  apples,  Mrs.  Holker  supplied  him  with  apple  butter 
from  Rouen,  English  friends  sent  him  turkeys  from  Nor- 
wich, and  a  French  acquaintance  (O'Gorman,  brother-in- 
law  of  La  Chevaliere  d'Eon)  sent  him  a  hogshead  of  the 
"right  sort"  of  Burgundy.  Craven  Street  overflowed  with 
dainties.  He  shook  the  superflux  to  his  friends,  accompanied 
sometimes  by  graceful  and  witty  notes  like  the  following: 
"Dr.  Franklin  presents  his  respectful  compliments  to  Lord 
Bathurst,  with  some  American  nuts ;  and  to  Lady  Bathurst, 
with  some  American  apples ;  which  he  prays  they  will  accept 
as  a  tribute  from  that  country,  small  indeed,  but  voluntary." 

The  sons  of  American  parents  who  came  to  him  with 
letters  of  recommendation  had  the  benefit  of  his  counsel, 
always  carefully  and  conscientiously  given ;  and  if  they  were 
seeking  education  in  Europe  he  assisted  them  in  entering 
school  or  college.  Young  men  who  were  going  to  Edinburgh 
to  study  were  recommended  by  him  to  lodgings  in  the  house 
of  the  blind  poet  Thomas  Blacklock,  who  had  accommoda- 
tions for  eight  young  gentlemen.  He  obtained  learned 
degrees  at  Edinburgh  for  deserving  scholars  in  America, 
recommended  candidates  for  the  navy  and  East  India  Com- 
pany, and  for  afternoon  preacherships  at  the  Foundling  Hos- 
pital. He  provided  the  Library  Company  of  Philadelphia 
with  valuable  books,  and  added  to  his  own  fast-growing 
collection  with  liberal  purchases  from  Pankouke  in  Paris. 


The  Society  for  Promoting  the  Culture  of  Silk  in  Penn- 
sylvania, organized  as  the  "Filature,"  committed  their  adven- 
ture to  the  hands  of  Franklin,  and  sent  him  of  the  first  year's 
product  a  quantity  to  be  presented  to  the  queen  and  to 
the  Penn  family.  In  the  second  year  (1772)  they  sent  him 
forty-five  pounds  of  silk,  saying,  "We  are  sensible  how  much 
the  promoters  of  the  culture  of  silk  are  obliged  to  Dr.  Franklin 
for  the  trouble  he  has  taken  in  the  business." 

He  interested  himself  in  many  of  the  infant  industries  of 
the  colonies,  and  always  encouraged  incipient  manufactures. 
Calico  printing  and  glass  blowing  engaged  his  attention; 
and  when  Samuel  Noble,  a  tanner,  in  Philadelphia,  sent 
him  (November,  1771)  a  pair  of  soles  ("to  keep  thy  feet 
warm  "),  with  a  history  of  the  leather  from  the  time  it  was 
the  hide  of  a  steer  on  Carpenter's  Island,  Franklin  replied 
after  two  years  with  a  letter  which  shows  at  once  his  appre- 
ciation of  American  industry  and  his  prompt  and  generous 
assistance  of  young  artisans. 

TO  SAMUEL  NOBLE  l  (p.  C.) 

London,  Feby  4th  1774 

The  Bearer,  William  Brown  being  bred  to  the  Tanning 
Business,  is  desirous  of  trying  his  Fortune  in  America.  He 
is  well  recommended  to  me  as  a  sober  honest  and  diligent 
young  Man,  —  If  it  may  not  be  inconvenient  to  you  to  afford 
him  Employment  as  a  Journeyman,  I  shall  consider  it  as  a 
Favour  to  me.  — 
The  Seles  you  were  so  kind  as  to  send  me  have  now  been 

1 1  am  indebted  for  this  letter  to  the  present  owner,  Mr.  Franklin  Noble 
of  Brooklyn,  a  great-grandson  of  Samuel  Noble. 


in  Wear  two  Years,  in  common  with  others  of  this  Country 
the  best  I  could  get  being  in  Double  Channel  Pumps  of  half 
a  Guinea  a  Pair;  and  yours  appear  to  excel  them  in  Firm- 
ness and  Duration,  —  I  show'd  them  the  other  Day  to  Capt. 
Falconer,  who  can  tell  you  that  they  are  still  very  good. 
With  much  Esteem,  I  am,  Sir 
Your  obliged  Friend  &  hum!  Serv't. 


At  this  time  he  was  in  continual  correspondence  with 
learned  men,  and  students  of  all  the  professions. 

Doctors  and  lawyers  solicited  his  judgment  upon  medical 
and  legal  cases.  I  find  in  an  English  legal  work,  dated  1775, 
the  opinion  of  Dr.  Franklin  touching  that  perpetually  debated 
question  of  the  legality  of  a  marriage  with  a  deceased  wife's 
sister.  The  book  is  entitled,  "The  Legal  Degrees  of  Mar- 
riage stated  and  considered,  in  a  series  of  Letters  to  a  Friend. 
By  John  Alleyne,1  Esq.;  Barrister  at  Law.  The  second 
Edition,  corrected  and  enlarged;  with  an  Appendix  con- 
taining Letters  from  several  Divines  and  others.  London: 
Printed  for  J.  Almon,  in  Piccadilly,  1775."  Franklin's  letter 
to  the  author  appears  in  the  Appendix  (pp.  1-2) :  — 

Craven  Street,  I5th  Oct.  1773. 


I  have  never  heard  upon  what  principles  of  policy  the  law 
was  made,  prohibiting  the  marriage  of  a  man  with  his  wife's 
sister,  nor  have  I  ever  been  able  to  conjecture  any  political 
inconvenience  that  might  have  been  found  in  such  marriages, 
or  to  conceive  of  any  moral  turpitude  in  them.  I  have  been 
personally  acquainted  with  the  parties  in  two  instances,  both 

1  See  Vol.  V,  p.  156. 


of  which  were  happy  matches,  the  second  wives  proving  most 
affectionate  mothers-in-law  to  their  sisters'  children;  which 
indeed,  is  so  naturally  to  be  expected,  that  it  seems  to  me, 
wherever  there  are  children  by  the  preceding  match,  if  any 
law  were  to  be  made  relating  to  such  marriages,  it  should 
rather  be  to  enjoin  than  to  forbid  them;  the  reason  being 
rather  stronger  than  that  given  for  the  Jewish  law,  which 
enjoined  the  widow  to  marry  the  brother  of  a  former  husband 
where  there  were  no  children,  viz.  that  children  might  be 
produced  who  should  bear  the  name  of  the  deceased  brother ; 
it  being  more  apparently  necessary  to  take  care  of  the  edu- 
cation of  a  sister's  children  already  existing,  than  to  procure 
the  existence  of  children  merely  that  they  might  keep  up  the 
name  of  a  brother. 

With  great  esteem,  I  am,  etc. 


I  am  indebted  to  Dr.  S.  Weir  Mitchell  for  permitting  me 
to  publish  a  letter  addressed  to  Dr.  John  Hawkesworth,  the 
editor  of  "The  Adventurer,"  which  illustrates  the  intelligent 
interest  he  took  in  the  art  of  medicine. 

TO   DR     JOHN  HAWKESWORTH  (?.  C.) 

LONDON  May  8.  1772. 


Dining  abroad  yesterday,  and  not  coming  home  till  12  at 
night  I  did  not  get  your  letter  in  time  to  answer  it  by  the 
return  of  the  post  as  you  desired. 

Dr.  M°Bride  of  Dublin  some  time  since  discovered  that 
putrid  flesh  could  not  only  be  rendered  sweet,  but  its  firm- 
ness restored  by  immersing  it  hi  Fix'd  Air ;  which  is  air  that 


has  made  part  of  the  solid  substance  of  bodies,  and  is  sepa- 
rated and  set  at  liberty  from  them  in  their  dissolution,  or 
fermentation,  or  effervescence  with  other  bodies.  This  air 
is  not  fit  for  breathing;  flame  is  extinguished  by  it;  and, 
taken  into  the  lungs  it  instantly  extinguishes  animal  life,  but 
taken  into  the  stomach  is  deemed  salutary,  as  in  Pyrmont 
water  which  contains  much  of  it.  Dr  Priestley  discovered 
that  two  fourths  of  the  air,  one  produced  by  suffering  dead 
mice  to  putrefy  under  glass,  the  other  by  the  effervescence 
of  chalk  and  water  with  a  small  quantity  of  acid  or  vitriol, 
in  either  of  which  airs  living  mice  being  put  would  instantly 
die,  yet  the  two  being  mixed  both  become  good  common  air, 
and  mice  breathe  in  it  freely.  From  his  own  and  Dr  M°B ride's 
Experiment  (who  thought  Fix'd  Air  would  prevent  or  cure 
the  sea  scurvy)  he  was  persuaded  it  might  be  of  use  in  mor- 
tification. But  of  this  there  has  been  only  a  single  experi- 
ment. A  Physician  of  his  acquaintance  at  Leeds  wrote  to 
him  while  he  was  lately  in  town  that  a  person  dying  as  was 
thought  of  a  putrid  fever  with  all  the  symptoms  of  a  mortifi- 
cation in  the  bowels  had  been  suddenly  relieved  and  re- 
covered by  the  injection  of  Fix'd  Air  as  a  clyster.  These  are 
all  our  present  premises  upon  which  you  can  judge  as  well 
as  I  how  far  one  may  expect  the  same  Fix'd  Air  will  be  of 
service  applied  to  a  cancer,  but,  as  you  ask  my  opinion,  as 
the  case  might  be  other  wise  desperate  and  we  know  of  no 
danger  in  the  trial  I  should  be  for  trying  it.  I  would  first 
syringe  the  sore  strongly  with  warm  water  impregnated  with 
Fix'd  Air  so  as  to  cleanse  well  the  part.  Then  I  would  apply 
to  it  a  succession  of  glasses  filled  with  Fix'd  Air,  each  glass  to 
remain  till  the  sore  had  absorbed  the  Fix'd  Air  contained  in 
it.  It  would  require  a  long  description  to  explain  the  readiest 


methods  of  obtaining  the  air,  applying  it,  and  impregnating 
the  water  with  it,  and  perhaps  I  would  not  make  myself 
clearly  understood.  The  best  way  is  to  show  it  which  I  will 
do  either  here  or  at  Bromley  if  you  desire  it. 

Being  ever  my  dear  friend 

Yours  most  affectionately 


On  the  2Oth  of  March,  1775,  Franklin  sailed  in  the 
Pennsylvania  Packet,  Captain  Osborne,  for  Philadelphia. 
During  the  voyage  he  wrote  an  account  of  negotiations  in 
London  for  effecting  a  reconciliation  between  Great  Britain 
and  the  American  colonies.1  It  is  from  this  document  that 
we  derive  the  knowledge  that  we  have  of  the  relations  existing 
between  Franklin  and  Lord  Chatham.  In  1757  Franklin  had 
sought  the  acquaintance  of  William  Pitt,  but  that  great 
statesman  was  then  busied  with  foreign  affairs  of  such  mag- 
nitude that  he  could  spare  no  time  for  the  consideration  of 
the  petty  particulars  of  a  remote  English  province,  and  Frank- 
lin was  obliged  to  admire  him  at  a  distance  and  to  regard 
him  as  an  inaccessible.  He  was  flattered  occasionally  upon 
hearing  from  Lord  Shelburne  that  Chatham  had  mentioned 
him  as  a  person  of  respectable  character,  but  they  never 
met  until  August,  1774,  when  Lord  Stanhope  called  for  him 
and  carried  him  to  Hayes.2 

He  expressed  to  Chatham  a  hope  that  if  his  Lordship,  with 
the  other  great  and  wise  men  of  the  British  nation,  would 
unite  and  exert  themselves,  the  empire  might  yet  be  rescued 
out  of  the  mangling  hands  of  the  present  set  of  blundering 

1  See  Vol.  VI,  pp.  318-399- 

2  Franklin  was  stopping  at  the  time  with  Mr.  Sargent,  M.  P.,  at  Halsted,  in 
Kent ;  Lord  Stanhope  was  at  Chevining. 


ministers;  and  that  the  union  and  harmony  between  Britain 
and  her  colonies,  so  necessary  to  the  welfare  of  both,  might 
be  restored.  Chatham  was  particularly  pleased  to  hear 
Franklin's  emphatic  assurance  that  America  did  not  aim  at 
independence,  and  they  parted  mutually  satisfied.  In 
December  they  met  again,  when  Franklin  had  important 
news  from  America  to  impart  to  him.  Congress  had  agreed 
upon  a  solemn  petition  to  the  king,  "that  your  Majesty,  as 
the  loving  father  of  your  whole  people,  connected  by  the 
same  bands  of  law,  loyalty,  faith,  and  blood,  though  dwell- 
ing in  various  countries,  will  not  suffer  the  transcendent  re- 
lation formed  by  these  ties,  to  be  further  violated  in  uncer- 
tain expectation  of  effects,  which,  if  attained,  never  can 
compensate  for  the  calamities  through  which  they  must 
be  gained."  The  colonial  agents  were  instructed  to  pre- 
sent the  petition  to  the  king,  and  to  publish  it  in  the  news- 

1  How  grave  the  colonists  felt  the  situation  to  be  may  be  inferred  from 
the  following  letter  from  Charles  Thomson  to  Franklin :  — 

"November  i,  1774 
"  SIR, 

"  I  have  the  honour  to  forward  to  you,  the  Address  to  the  King  and  an 
Address  to  the  people  of  Great  Britain  &  these  colonies.  —  I  was  in  hopes  by 
this  opportunity  to  have  sent  you  the  Journal  of  the  proceedings  of  the  con- 
gress which  is  in  the  press. 

"  I  hope  administration  will  see  and  be  convinced  that  it  is  not  a  little 
faction,  but  the  whole  body  of  American  freeholders  from  Nova  Scotia  to 
Georgia  that  now  complain  &  apply  for  redress  ;  and  who,  I  am  sure,  will 
resist  rather  than  submit. 

"  When  I  look  back  and  consider  the  warm  affection  which  the  Colonies 
had  for  Great  Britain  till  the  present  reign,  the  untainted  loyalty,  unshaken 
fidelity  &  cheerful  confidence  that  universally  prevailed,  till  that  time,  and  then 
view  the  present  heartburnings,  jealousies,  gloom  &  despair,  I  am  ready  to  ask, 
with  the  poet,  '  Are  there  not  some  chosen  thunders  in  the  stores  of  heaven 
armed  with  uncommon  wrath  to  blast  those  Men,'  who  by  their  cursed  schemes 


The  Massachusetts  agents  (Mr.  Lee  and  Mr.  Bollan)  alone 
responded  to  Franklin's  invitation  to  join  him  in  presenting 
the  petition.  They  called  upon  Lord  Dartmouth  and  left  it 
for  his  consideration.  After  some  days  they  were  notified 
that  the  secretary  had  kid  the  petition  before  the  king,  who 
was  pleased  to  receive  it  graciously  and  would  submit  it  to 
the  consideration  of  Parliament.  It  came  before  Parliament 
along  with  a  multitude  of  miscellaneous  documents  but  with- 
out any  word  of  recommendation.  The  agents  requested  in 
vain  to  be  heard  by  counsel  at  the  bar  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons. When  at  last  it  was  read,  it  was  assailed  with  bitter 
denunciation  and  contempt.  Before  the  vote  was  taken, 
Franklin  went  to  Hayes  (December  26)  to  obtain  Lord 
Chatham's  sentiments  upon  the  petition.  The  great  states- 
man received  him  with  "an  affectionate  kind  of  respect  that 
from  so  great  a  man  was  extremely  engaging."  Congress, 
he  said,  had  acted  with  so  much  temper,  moderation,  and 
wisdom,  that  he  thought  it  the  most  honourable  assembly  of 
statesmen  since  those  of  the  ancient  Greeks  and  Romans  in 
the  most  virtuous  times. 

On  the  i Qth  of  January  (1775),  Franklin  received  a  card 
from  Lord  Stanhope,  acquainting  him  that  Lord  Chatham 
desired  his  presence  hi  the  House  of  Lords  on  the  following 
day,  when  it  was  his  intention  to  make  an  important  motion. 

At  two  o'clock  on  the  morrow,  Chatham  met  Franklin  in 
the  lobby,  and  saying,  "I  am  sure  your  being  present  at  this 
day's  debate  will  be  of  more  service  to  America  than  mine," 
led  him  to  the  entrance  of  the  House.  The  great  speech  of 

of  pol;cy  are  dragging  friend  &  brothers  into  the  horrors  of  civil  War  &  in- 
volving their  country  in  ruin. 

. "  Even  yet  the  wound  may  be  healed,  &  peace  and  love  restored  ;  but  we 
are  on  the  very  edge  of  the  precipice." 


that  day  has  been  preserved  but  in  meagre  outline.  The 
conclusion  of  it  is  famous:  "If  the  ministers  thus  persevere 
in  misadvising  and  misleading  the  king,  I  will  not  say,  that 
they  can  alienate  the  affections  of  his  subjects  from  his 
crown,  but  I  will  affirm,  that  they  will  make  the  crown  not 
•worth  his  wearing.  I  will  not  say,  that  the  king  is  be- 
trayed, but  I  will  pronounce,  that  the  kingdom  is  undone." 
The  motion,  which  was  that  General  Gage  should  remove 
his  Majesty's  forces  from  the  town  of  Boston,  was  rejected. 

Chatham  continued  to  elaborate  a  plan  of  conciliation  and 
again  sent  for  Franklin  to  consult  with  him  on  the  2yth 
of  January.  The  imperfect  and  incomplete  Plan  was 
read  and  discussed.  Two  days  later  Chatham  called  upon 
Franklin  in  Craven  Street,  and  left  with  him  a  copy  of  the 
Plan  desiring  him  to  reflect  upon  it,  and  to  communicate  to 
him  such  remarks  upon  it  as  should  occur  to  him. 

A  copy  of  the  Plan  exists  in  six  folio  pages  in  Franklin's 
handwriting,  in  the  Library  of  Congress.1  At  the  end  is  a 
note  in  Franklin's  hand:  "The  above  Plan  was  offered  by 
the  Earl  of  Chatham  to  the  House  of  Lords  on  Wednesday 
Feb.  i,  1775  under  the  title  of  A  Provisional  Act  for  settling 
the  Troubles  of  America,  and  for  asserting  the  supreme 
Legislative  Authority  and  Superintending  Power  of  Great 
Britain  over  the  Colonies ;  but  being  oppos'd  by  the  Ministry 
it  was  rejected  by  a  great  Majority  the  Members  being  for 
rejecting,  61  and  for  retaining  32,  so  it  was  not  suffered  to  lie 
on  the  Table  for  further  Consideration.  Yet,  when  it  is 
considered  that  in  the  Majority  were  all  the  Ministerial  Lords 
with  all  the  Scotch  Lords  and  the  Bishops  who  usually  vote 
as  the  Ministers  bid  them,  the  Sense  of  the  House,  that  is, 

1  See  Force,  4th  Series,  I,  1504. 


the  independent  Part  of  it,  does  not  seem  to  have  been 
generally  against  the  Bill."  1 

It  was  upon  this  occasion  that  Lord  Chatham  paid  his 
extraordinary  compliment  to  Franklin.  Lord  Sandwich  had 
said  that  he  could  never  believe  the  Plan  to  be  the  produc- 
tion of  any  British  peer,  and  looking  toward  Franklin  who 
was  leaning  on  the  bar,  said  he  fancied  he  had  in  his  eye  the 
person  who  drew  it  up,  one  of  the  bitterest  and  most  mis- 
chievous enemies  that  country  had  ever  known.  Chatham, 
in  reply,  assumed  all  responsibility  for  the  document,  but  he 
made  no  scruple  to  declare  that  if  he  were  the  first  minister 
and  had  the  care  of  settling  this  momentous  business,  he  should 
not  be  ashamed  of  publicly  calling  to  his  assistance  a  person  so 
perfectly  acquainted  with  the  whole  of  American  affairs  as 
the  gentleman  alluded  to,  and  so  injuriously  reflected  on; 
one,  he  was  pleased  to  say,  "whom  all  Europe  held  in  high 
estimation  for  his  knowledge  and  wisdom  and  ranked  with 
our  Boyles  and  Newtons;  who  was  an  honour,  not  to  the 
English  nation  only,  but  to  human  nature!" 

1  Among  the  Franklin  papers  (A.  P.  S.)  is  the  following  brief  note  from 
Pitt  to  Thomas  Walpole  :  — 

"  Lord  Pitt  presents  his  Compliments  to  MT  Walpole  and,  being  at  Hayes 
did  not  receive  the  honor  of  his  obliging  note,  till  Yesterday.  Lord  Chatham 
desires  him  to  present  his  Compliments  to  Mf  Walpole,  and  is  much  honor'd 
by  his  thinking  of  his  health,  which  is  better,  tho'  he  still  continues  very  much 
out  of  order.  Lord  Chatham  also  .desires  me  to  express  how  sensibly  he  feels 
the  Contents  of  the  Extract  communicated  to  him  ;  he  is  deeply  touched  by 
such  a  remembrance,  and  truly  honor'd  by  so  Authentick  and  Respectable 
a  Testimony  to  his  good  Intentions. 

"  HAYES  Thursday  March  6th" 

The  note  is  endorsed  as  follows :  — 

"  Note  received  by  Mr.  Walpole  in  answr  to  one  from  him  communicat- 
ing an  Extract  of  a  Letter  from  me  respecting  Lord  Chatham's  Motion  for 
Conciliatory  Measures  made  Feb.  1775.  —  B.  Franklin." 


It  is  unnecessary  here  to  enlarge  upon  the  secret  negotia- 
tions carried  on  from  October,  1774,  to  March,  1775,  between 
Franklin  and  the  agents  of  the  Ministry.  The  facts  have 
been  clearly  and  minutely  recorded  by  Franklin  (see  Vol.  VI, 
pp.  318-399).  The  chief  mediators  between  the  colonists 
and  the  crown  were  David  Barclay  and  Dr.  John  Fother- 
gill,  members  of  the  Society  of  Friends.  Mrs.  Howe,  sister 
of  Lord  Howe,  with  whom  Franklin  played  chess  and  dis- 
cussed mathematical  problems,  brought  Franklin  and  her 
brother  together,  and  again  Franklin  did  all  in  his  power  to 
reach  some  common  ground  of  agreement.  Howe  urged 
him  to  form  some  plan  of  reconciliation  that  would  be  ac- 
ceptable to  the  Ministry,  and  assured  him  that  if  he  could 
accomplish  such  pacification,  he  "  might  with  reason  expect 
any  reward  in  the  power  of  government  to  bestow."  This, 
said  Franklin,  was  to  him  "what  the  French  vulgarly  call 
spitting  in  the  soup." 

Franklin  drew  up  a  plan,  the  sane  propositions  of  which 
could  not  be  accepted  by  a  demented  government,  and 
agreed  to  accompany  Lord  Howe  as  his  private  secretary  if 
his  Lordship  should  be  appointed  commissioner  to  America. 
He  even  guaranteed  without  any  assurance  that  he  should 
be  reimbursed,  or  his  conduct  approved,  that  the  tea  thrown 
overboard  in  Boston  harbour  should  be  paid  for  if  justice 
should  be  granted  to  the  colonies,  —  "an  engagement,"  he 
said,  "in  which  I  must  have  risked  my  whole  fortune." 

Franklin  reached  Philadelphia,  May  5,  1775.  While  he 
was  upon  the  seas,  the  skirmishes  at  Lexington  and  Concord 
occurred.  The  land  was  in  tumult.  The  morning  after  his 
arrival  he  was  unanimously  chosen  one  of  the  deputies  of 
the  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania  to  attend  the  Continental 


Congress.1  Changes,  too,  the  years  had  brought  for  Frank- 
lin's family.  His  new  house,  built  nine  years  before  but 
during  his  residence  in  London,  was  ready  for  his  occupation, 
but  the  mistress  of  the  house  was  dead.  Deborah  Franklin  died 
of  paralysis  in  December,  1774.  In  the  winter  of  1768-1769, 
she  had  suffered  "a  partial  palsy  in  the  tongue  and  a  sudden 
loss  of  memory."  She  rallied  from  the  shock  though  William 
Franklin  wrote  to  his  father  that  her  memory  appeared  to  be 
impaired.  In  1771  he  reported  that  "her  memory  has  failed 
her  much  and  she  becomes  every  day  more  and  more  unfit 
to  be  left  alone." 

In  May  of  that  year,  Franklin  wrote  to  her  a  letter  which 
defines  the  financial  arrangements  that  he  made  for  his 
family  during  his  absence. 


London,  May  i,  1771 

I  wrote  to  you  per  Capt.  Osborne,  and  have  since  received 
yours  of  Jan.  14,  per  Cousin  Benezet,  and  of  March  7,  per 
the  Packet. 

The  Bill  on  Sir  Alexander  Grant  for  30^  which  you  so 
kindly  sent  me  inclos'd,  came  safe  to  hand.  I  am  obliged  too 
to  Mr.  Hall  for  enabling  you  on  a  Pinch  to  buy  it.  But  I 
am  sorry  you  had  so  much  Trouble  about  it ;  and  the  more 
so,  as  it  seems  to  have  occasioned  some  Disgust  in  you 
against  Mess™  Foxcrofts  for  not  supplying  you  with  Money 
to  pay  for  it.  That  you  may  not  be  offended  with  your 
Neighbours  without  Cause ;  I  must  acquaint  you  with  what  it 
seems  you  did  not  know,  that  I  had  limited  them  in  their 

1  Thomas  Willing  and  James  Wilson  were  chosen  at  the  same  time. 


Payments  to  you,  to  the  Sum  of  Thirty  Pounds  per  Month, 
for  the  sake  of  our  more  easily  settling,  and  to  prevent  Mis- 
takes. This  making  360  Pounds  a  Year,  I  thought,  as  you 
have  no  House  Rent  to  pay  yourself,  and  receive  the  Rents 
of  7  or  8  Houses  besides,  might  be  sufficient  for  the  Main- 
tenance of  your  Family.  I  judged  such  a  Limitation  the 
more  necessary,  because  you  never  have  sent  me  any  Account 
of  your  Expences,  and  think  yourself  ill-used  if  I  desire  it; 
and  because  I  know  you  were  not  very  attentive  to  Money- 
matters  in  your  best  Days,  and  I  apprehend  that  your  Mem- 
ory is  too  much  impair'd  for  the  Management  of  unlimited 
Sums,  without  Danger  of  injuring  the  future  Fortune  of  your 
Daughter  and  Grandson.  If  out  of  more  than  500^  a  Year, 
you  could  have  sav'd  enough  to  buy  those  Bills  it  might  have 
been  well  to  continue  purchasing  them.  But  I  do  not  like 
your  going  about  among  my  Friends  to  borrow  Money  for 
that  purpose,  especially  as  it  is  not  at  all  necessary.  And 
therefore  I  once  more  request  that  you  would  decline  buying 
them  for  the  future.  And  I  hope  you  will  no  longer  take  it 
amiss  of  Mess™  Foxcrofts  that  they  did  not  supply  you. 
If  what  you  receive  is  really  insufficient  for  your  sup- 
port satisfy  me  by  Accounts  that  it  is  so,  and  I  shall  order 

I  am  much  pleased  with  the  little  Histories  you  give  me  of 
your  fine  Boy,  which  are  confirmed  by  all  that  have  seen 
him.  I  hope  he  will  be  spared  and  continue  the  same 
Pleasure  and  Comfort  to  you,  and  that  I  shall  ere  long  partake 
with  you  in  it.  My  Love  to  him,  and  to  his  Papa  and  Mama. 
Mrs.  Stevenson  too  is  just  made  very  happy  by  her  Daugh- 
ter's being  safely  delivered  of  a  Son :  the  Mother  and  Child 
both  well.  Present  my  affectionate  Respects  to  Mrs.  Mont- 


gomery   with   Thanks  for  her  most   obliging   Present.     It 
makes  a  nice   Bag  for  my  Ivory  Chessmen,  I  am,  as  ever, 
Your  affectionate  Husband 


I  venture  to  add  to  this  letter  an  example  of  Mrs.  Franklin's 
epistolary  style.  Although  written  the  year  before  her  death, 
it  is  neither  better  nor  worse  than  the  other  laboured  products 
of  her  unwilling  and  unlettered  pen. 


October  ye  29,  1773 

MY  DEAR  CHILD:  —  I  have  bin  verey  much  distrest  a 
boute  you  as  I  did  not  aney  letter  nor  one  word  from  you 
nor  did  I  hear  one  word  from  oney  bodey  that  you  wrote  to 
so  I  muste  submit  and  inde  [  ?]  to  submit  to  what  I  am  to 
bair  I  did  write  by  Capt  Folkner  to  you  but  he  is  gon  down 
and  when  I  read  it  over  I  did  not  like  t  and  so  if  this  donte 
send  it  I  shante  like  it  as  I  donte  send  you  aney  news  now 
I  donte  go  abrode 

I  shall  tell  you  what  Consernes  my  selef  our  youngest  Grand 
son  is  the  forced  child  us  a  live  he  has  had  the  Small  Pox  and 
had  it  very  fine  and  got  a  brod  a  gen.  Capt  All  will  tell  you 
aboute  him  and  Benj  Franklin  Beache,  but  as  it  is  so  dificall 
to  writ  I  have  deserd  him  to  tell  you,  I  have  sent  a  squerel 
for  your  friend  l  and  wish  her  better  luck  it  is  a  very  fine  one 
I  have  had  very  bad  luck  they  one  kild  and  another  run  a 
way  all  thow  they  are  bred  up  tame  I  have  not  a  Caige  as  I 
donte  know  where  the  man  lives  that  makes  them  my  love 
to  Salley  Franklin  my  love  to  all  our  Cusins  as  thow  menshond 

1  Miss  Georgiana  Shipley. 
VOL.  X  —  U 


remember  me  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Weste  doe  you  ever  hear  any 
thing  of  Ninely  Evans  as  was 

I  thanke  you  for  the  silke  and  hat  it  at  the  womons  to  make 
it  up  but  have  it  put  up  as  you  wrote  [torn]  I  thonke  it  it 
is  very  prittey ;  what  was  the  prise  ?  I  desier  to  give  my  love 
to  every  bodey  [torn]  I  shold  love  Billey  was  in  town  5  or  6 
day  when  the  child  was  in  the  Small  Pox  Mr  Franklin  [torn] 
not  sene  him  yit  I  am  to  tell  a  verey  pritey  thing  about  Ben 
the  players  is  cume  to  town  and  they  am  to  ackte  on  Munday 
he  wanted  to  see  a  play  he  unkill  Beache  had  given  him  a 
doler  his  mama  asked  him  wuther  he  wold  give  it  for  a  ticket, 
or  buy  his  Brother  a  neckles  he  sed  his  Brother  a  necklas  he 
is  a  charmm  child  as  ever  was  Borne  my  Grand  cheldren 
are  the  Best  in  the  world  Salley  will  write  I  cante  write  aney 

mor  I  am  your  a  feckshone  wife, 


The  Continental  Congress  convened  on  the  loth  of  May. 
Never  had  Franklin's  time  been  more  fully  employed.  "In 
the  morning  at  six,"  he  wrote  to  Joseph  Priestley,  "I  am  at 
the  Committee  of  Safety,  appointed  by  the  Assembly  to  put 
the  province  in  a  state  of  defence,  which  Committee  holds  till 
near  nine,  when  I  am  at  the  Congress,  and  that  sits  till  after 
four  in  the  afternoon."  Twenty-five  members  served  upon 
the  committee.  It  was  their  duty  to  call  the  militia  into  active 
service,  to  pay  and  furnish  them  with  supplies  and  to  provide 
for  the  defence  of  the  province.  To  meet  their  expenses 
bills  of  credit  for  thirty-five  thousand  pounds  were  issued  and 
put  into  their  hands.  They  prepared  and  executed  plans 
for  the  defence  of  Philadelphia,  erecting  fortifications  and 
constructing  armed  boats.  Upon  this  committee  Franklin 
served  as  chairman  for  eight  months. 


Congress  made  provision  for  a  new  post-office  establish- 
ment, and  Franklin  was  appointed  chairman  of  a  committee 
of  six  to  consider  the  best  means  of  establishing  posts  for 
conveying  letters  and  intelligence  throughout  the  continent. 
The  plan  outlined  by  Franklin  is  that  upon  which  the  post- 
office  of  the  United  States  is  conducted  at  the  present  time. 
He  was  unanimously  chosen  postmaster-general,  at  a  salary 
of  one  thousand  dollars  per  annum.  It  was  at  this  time  that 
in  franking  letters  he  was  wont  to  write  "B  free  Franklin" 
instead  of  the  original  form  "free,  B.  Franklin." 

He  served  with  zeal  and  energy  upon  ten  committees.  He 
was  head  of  the  commissioners  for  Indian  affairs  in  the 
middle  department ;  he  was  on  the  committee  for  engraving 
and  printing  continental  money;  on  the  committee  to  con- 
sider Lord  North's  conciliatory  resolution  in  Parliament; 
on  the  investigation  of  the  sources  of  saltpetre ;  for  employing 
packet-ships  and  disposing  of  captured  vessels ;  on  a  plan  for 
protecting  commerce ;  and  on  the  plan  of  treaties  to  be  pro- 
posed to  foreign  powers. 

In  July  (1775),  he  prepared  a  sketch  of  a  plan  of  permanent 
union  of  the  colonies.  Each  colony  was  to  retain  its  indepen- 
dence, but  to  be  represented  in  an  annual  congress  which 
should  deal  with  all  measures  of  resistance  to  injustice  and 
oppression.  Besides  the  thirteen  already  represented,  Ire- 
land, Canada,  the  West  Indies,  Bermuda,  Nova  Scotia  and 
Florida  were  to  be  invited  to  join.  The  plan  was  presented 
to  Congress,  but  was  not  acted  upon.1  The  original  draft 
as  drawn  by  Franklin  is  in  The  American  Philosophical 

1  The  plan  of  union  was  published  in  the  Annual  Register  for  1775.  The 
editor  omitted  "  Ireland  "  from  the  list  of  colonies. 



Lords   for  the   principal  prov- 

Massachusetts Bay 
S.  Carolina 

each  I  .  .  20 
four  j 

inces  and  Islands,  as  soon  as 
found  convenient,  to  be  cre- 
ated  by  the  Royal  Preroga- 
tive       . 




New  York  I 

Each  Province  4  Members  .    . 


Mafyland    1  three  }      '    '    '    '      9 



Canada      J 

Connecticutt       }  each  \ 


E.  &  W.  Jerseys  J  two   j    ' 


New  Hampshire 
Nova  Scotia 
Rhode  Island 

-r  .       .  ,         each  1 
Limerick                }-.... 

Kilkenny       °ne  > 


Lower  Countries  of 

each  1              0 
J-  .     .       o 
one  J 


North  Carolina 

Dundalk    1 

(~rf*nrcn  A 



East  Florida 

Youghall  j 

West  Florida 

Galway           1        .  , 

each  1 


Belfast             \           \      ... 
1  one    J 


Antigua                each  \ 

Londonderry  J 

S?  Christophers     one   / 


Bahamas            )                \ 

And  proportionate  Numbers  of 

Bermuda  1 

Lords  to  be   elected  by  the 

Irish  Lords  from  among  them  - 



New  Foundland  &  St.  Johns  .    .      I 

Jr  ecit  in  the  whole 
American  Commons     .     .     . 


Dominica    I 

Lords      .... 


S'  Vincent  I    I 

Irish  Commons     .     .    . 


Tobago      J 

Lords      .... 


Commons     ...    50 


In  September,  with  Thomas  Lynch  of  South  Carolina 
and  Benjamin  Harrison  of  Virginia,  he  was  sent  to  Cambridge 
to  consult  with  Washington  relative  to  the  military  condition 
of  the  colonies,  and  to  determine  upon  methods  of  supplying 
and  governing  the  continental  army.  Order  was  to  be 


brought  out  of  chaos ;  the  army  was  unprepared  for  winter,  — 
clothing,  fuel,  provision,  gunpowder,  were  imperatively  needed. 
Ammunition  was  so  scarce  that  at  Bunker  Hill  there  were 
but  five  rounds  for  each  soldier.  None  knew  so  well  as 
Franklin  the  inadequacy  and  unpreparedness  of  the  army, 
yet  the  day  before  he  set  forth  for  Cambridge  he  wrote  to 
Priestley  in  a  tone  of  confident  irony :  "  Britain,  at  the  expense 
of  three  millions,  has  killed  one  hundred  and  fifty  Yankees 
this  campaign,  which  is  twenty  thousand  pounds  a  head ;  and 
at  Bunker's  Hill  she  gained  a  mile  of  ground,  half  of  which 
she  lost  again  by  our  taking  post  on  Ploughed  Hill.  During 
the  same  time  sixty  thousand  children  have  been  bom  in 
America.  From  these  data  Dr.  Price's  mathematical  head 
will  easily  calculate  the  time  and  expense  necessary  to  kill  us 
all,  and  conquer  our  whole  territory." 

The  conference  at  the  camp  of  General  Washington  began 
October  the  eighteenth  and  continued  four  days.  It  was 
agreed  that  an  army  of  twenty-six  regiments  should  be 
raised,  and  that  preparations  should  be  made  for  recruiting. 
Rules  were  made  for  selling  prize  ships,  and  for  exchanging 
prisoners,  and  methods  of  raising  from  among  the  colonies 
the  money  necessary  for  paying  the  troops  were  determined 

A  secret  committee  was  appointed  November  29,  1775, 
"to  correspond  secretly  with  friends  in  Great  Britain,  Ire- 
land, and  other  parts  of  the  world."  Benjamin  Franklin, 
Benjamin  Harrison,  John  Dickinson,  Thomas  Johnson,  and 
John  Jay  were  immediately  appointed  upon  the  committee 
with  full  powers  to  employ  confidential  agents  in  Europe  and 
to  send  such  agents  from  America.  The  first  business  of  the 
committee  was  the  employment  of  Charles  W.  F.  Dumas,  a 


resident  of  The  Hague,  a  man-of -letters,  and  a  student  of 
international  law  who  had  presented  Franklin  with  his  anno- 
tated edition  of  Vattel.  Franklin  wrote  to  him,  enclosing  a 
draft  for  two  hundred  pounds,  as  preliminary  payment,  and 
requested  him  to  sound  the  foreign  ambassadors  at  The 
Hague  and  ascertain  if  an  alliance  would  be  possible  with 
any  of  the  friendly  powers.1  Arthur  Lee,  in  London,  was 
addressed  upon  similar  terms,  and  a  strategic  letter  was  sent 
to  his  Serene  Highness,  Don  Gabriel  of  Bourbon,  in  the  hope 
of  striking  some  show  of  friendship  from  Spain.  The  letters 
were  carried  to  Europe  by  Thomas  Story.  Large  orders  for 
arms  and  clothing  were  given  to  M.  Penet,  a  French  merchant, 
who  departed  for  France,  bearing  with  him  other  letters  from 
Franklin,  the  most  important  of  which  was  to  Dr.  Barbeu 
Dubourg,  the  translator  and  editor  of  Franklin's  works. 

The  next  important  act  of  the  Committee  of  Secret  Corre- 
spondence was  the  sending  abroad  of  Silas  Deane  to  treat 
with  the  French  government.  He  was  to  seek  out  Dr. 
Dubourg  upon  his  arrival  in  Paris  and  be  presented  by  him 
to  Count  de  Vergennes,  the  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs.  He 
was  to  request  the  assistance  and  alliance  of  France,  and 
promise  that  the  American  trade  should  be  diverted  from 
England  to  that  country.  He  was  to  ask  for  clothing  and 
arms  for  twenty-five  thousand  men,  a  quantity  of  ammunition 
and  one  hundred  pieces  of  field  artillery.  He  was  to  ask 

1  The  letter  was  written  by  Franklin,  December  9,  1775,  and  was  approved 
and  confirmed  by  John  Dickinson  and  John  Jay.  It  concluded :  "  As  what 
we  now  request  of  you,  besides  taking  up  your  Time  and  giving  you  Trouble 
may  put  you  to  some  Expence  we  send  you,  for  the  present,  inclosed,  a  Bill 
of  two  hundred  pounds  sterling  to  defray  such  Expences,  and  desire  you  to 
be  assured  that  your  services  will  be  considered  and  honourably  rewarded  by 
the  Congress."  Dumas  was  to  sign  his  letters  "  L'Ami  des  Col,"  or  "  L'Habi- 
tant  de  1' Academic  de  Leyde." 


convoy  for  these  articles  and  for  the  Indian  goods  he  was 
instructed  to  purchase.  Forty  thousand  pounds'  worth  of 
tobacco  and  rice  were  despatched  to  the  ports  of  France  so 
that  he  might  be  furnished  with  the  means  of  paying  for  his 
purchases.  Secrecy  was  maintained  with  great  caution  and 
mystery.  The  correspondence  between  the  committee  and 
their  agent  was  to  be  upon  specially  prepared  paper,  written 
upon  with  invisible  ink. 

These  manifold  activities  might  have  seemed  a  heavy  tax 
upon  one  man,  but  fresh  burdens  were  soon  to  be  fastened 
upon  Franklin.  In  the  spring  of  1776,  he  was  appointed 
one  of  three  commissioners  to  go  to  Canada,  a  long  and 
laborious  journey  for  one  who  was  then  seventy  years  of  age. 
His  fellow-travellers  were  Samuel  Chase  and  Charles  Carroll, 
his  fellow-commissioners,  and  the  Rev.  John  Carroll,  a 
Jesuit  priest,  afterward  Archbishop  of  Baltimore,  who  was 
requested  to  accompany  them  because  of  the  influence  he 
might  be  expected  to  have  over  the  Roman  Catholics  of 
Canada.  The  purpose  of  the  commission  was  to  promote 
or  form  a  union  between  the  colonies  and  the  people  of 
Canada.  Montreal  was  reached  April  29  after  a  journey 
of  twenty-seven  days.1  Franklin  lodged  hi  "the  best  built 
and  the  best  furnished  house  in  the  city."  It  belonged  to 
Thomas  Walker,  an  English  merchant,  who  was  an  active 
sympathizer  with  the  colonies. 

The  Canadians  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  very 
doubtful  experiment  of  joining  the  colonies.  The  commis- 
sioners tried  in  vain  to  borrow  money  for  the  needs  of  the 
army.  Franklin  was  suffering  from  the  severity  of  the 

1  See  "  Diary  of  Charles  Carroll,"  edited  by  Colonel  Brantz  Mayer,  in 
Transactions  of  the  Maryland  Historical  Society,  Vol.  I. 


weather,  and  after  a  fortnight  in  Montreal  returned  in  com- 
pany with  Dr.  John  Carroll,  reaching  Philadelphia  in  June. 
On  the  morning  of  his  departure  Franklin  wrote  the  follow- 
ing letter  which  was  signed  by  the  other  commissioners. 

Montreal  IIth  May  1776 


We  desire  that  you  will  shew  to  Mrs.  Walker  every  civility 
in  your  power  and  facilitate  her  on  her  way  to  Philadelphia ; 
the  fear  of  cruel  treatment  from  the  enemy  on  account  of 
the  strong  attachment  to,  and  zeal  of  her  husband  in  the  cause 
of  the  united  Colonies  induces  her  to  depart  precipitately 
from  her  home;  &  to  undergo  the  fatigues  of  a  long  and 
hazardous  journey.  We  are  sorry  for  the  occasion  of  writing 
this  letter  &  beg  your  attention  to  alleviate  her  distress; 
your  known  politeness  and  humanity,  we  are  sensible,  without 
this  recommendation  from  us,  would  prompt  you  to  perform 
the  friendly  office.  We  are  with  great  esteem  &  sincere 
regard  for  yourself  &  family 

Dr  Sir  Your  affectionate  hum  Servto 
CH.  CARROLL  of  Carrollton 


1  Thomas  Walker  had  been  accused  of  defacing  the  bust  of  George  III  in 
Place  d'Armes,  Montreal.  A  string  of  potatoes  for  a  rosary  was  found  one 
morning  in  1775  about  the  neck  of  the  bust  with  an  inscription,  "  Voici  le  , 
Pape  du  Canada  et  de  Sot  des  Anglais."  Some  persons  in  Montreal,  offended 
by  his  rebellious  speeches,  entered  his  house  at  night  and  mutilated  him  by 
cutting  off  an  ear.  Franklin  suddenly  resolved  to  accompany  the  fair  and 
"  precipitate  "  Mrs.  Walker,  and  on  the  score  of  ill  health  left  his  fellow-com- 
missioners to  pursue  their  ineffectual  task  in  Canada.  How  little  pleasure  he 
had  in  the  companionship  of  Mrs.  Walker,  who  taunted  him  cruelly  upon  the 
ill  success  of  his  mission,  may  be  learned  from  Franklin's  letter  to  the  com- 
missioners. See  Vol.  VI,  p.  448. 

The  original  of  the  above  letter,  which  was  probably  addressed  to  General 


He  was  in  time  to  take  part  in  the  historic  proceedings 
which  have  made  the  4th  of  July  a  day  of  imperishable 
memories.  The  Committee  of  Safety  had  recommended  the 
election  of  delegates  to  a  conference.  Franklin  was  one 
of  the  twenty-five  chosen  by  Philadelphia.  The  conference 
sat  in  Philadelphia  from  June  18  to  23,  forswore  al- 
legiance to  the  king  of  England,  and  vowed  obedience 
to  Congress,  and  provided  for  the  election  of  delegates 
from  Philadelphia  to  meet  in  convention  and  form  a  con- 
stitution. Franklin  was  chosen  one  of  the  eight  delegates 
from  Philadelphia.  The  Declaration  of  Independence  was 
drafted  by  Thomas  Jefferson,  Benjamin  Franklin,  John 
Adams,  Robert  R.  Livingston,  and  Roger  Sherman.  It  is 
well  known  that  when  John  Hancock  said,  as  they  were  about 
to  sign  the  document,  "We  must  be  unanimous;  we  must  all 
hang  together,"  Franklin  replied,  "We  must  indeed  all 
hang  together,  or,  most  assuredly,  we  shall  all  hang  sepa- 

John  Adams  wrote  to  his  wife:  "Dr.  Franklin  will  be 
governor  of  Pennsylvania !  The  new  members  from  this 
city  are  all  in  this  taste  —  chosen  because  of  their  inflexible 
zeal  for  Independence.  All  the  old  members  left  out  because 
they  opposed  Independence,  or  were  lukewarm  about  it, 
Dickinson,  Morris,  and  Allen  all  fallen  like  grass  before  the 
scythe,  notwithstanding  all  their  vast  advantages  in  point 
of  fortune,  family,  and  abilities."  On  the  8th  of  July 

Scbuyler,  is  now  in  the  council  room  of  the  Chateau  de  Ramezay,  Montreal, 
which  was  the  headquarters  of  the  commissioners,  and  the  place  where  the 
letter  was  written.  The  house  in  which  Franklin  lodged  was  demolished  to 
make  room  for  the  extension  of  the  Bonsecours  Market.  It  stood  at  the 
corner  of  Jacques  Cartier  Square  and  Notre  Dame  Street. 
1  See  also  Vol.  I,  p.  38. 


Franklin  was  elected  president  of  the  Constitutional  Con- 
vention, and  on  the  2oth  was  chosen  by  that  body  a 
member  of  Congress  by  the  highest  number  of  votes  cast 
for  any  candidate.  When  the  Convention  adjourned,  they 
adopted  unanimously  the  following  resolution,  "That  the 
thanks  of  this  Convention  be  given  to  the  President  for  the 
honour  he  has  done  it  by  filling  the  chair  during  the  debates 
on  the  most  important  parts  of  the  bill  of  rights  and  frame 
of  government,  and  for  his  able  and  disinterested  advice 

Lord  Howe  and  his  brother,  General  William  Howe,  were 
appointed  joint  commissioners  to  bring  about  a  reconcilia- 
tion with  the  colonies.  Lord  Howe's  fleet  of  one  hundred 
and  twenty  sail  reached  New  York  early  in  July,  1776.  An 
exchange  of  letters  immediately  took  place  between  Franklin 
and  the  admiral.1  The  "  Declaration "  issued  by  the  latter, 
stating  his  powers  to  grant  pardons,  etc.,  was  sent  to  Wash- 
ington, who  transmitted  it  to  Congress.  That  body  directed 
it  to  be  printed  in  the  newspapers,  "that  the  few  who  still 
remain  suspended  by  a  hope  founded  either  in  the  justice 
or  moderation  of  their  late  King,  may  now  at  length  be  con- 
vinced that  the  valour  alone  of  their  country  is  to  save  its 
liberties."  No  other  notice  was  taken  of  the  commissioners. 
Military  operations  began.  The  battle  of  Long  Island  was 
fought,  and  General  Sullivan  who  fell  into  the  hands  of  the 
British  was  paroled  and  sent  to  Philadelphia  to  ask  Congress 
to  name  representatives  to  treat  with  the  British  commission- 
ers. Congress  appointed  Franklin,  John  Adams,  and  Edward 
Rutledge,  a  committee  to  ascertain  from  Lord  Howe  whether 
he  had  any  authority  to  treat  with  persons  authorized  by 

1  See  Vol.  VI,  p.  458  et  seq. 


Congress  for  that  purpose  on  behalf  of  America,  and  what  that 
authority  is,  and  to  hear  such  propositions  as  he  shall  think  fit 
to  make  respecting  the  same. 

Franklin  wrote  to  Howe,  naming  the  house  on  Staten  Island 
opposite  to  Amboy,  or  the  governor's  house  at  Amboy,  as 
places  suitable  for  the  rendezvous.  Howe  preferred  the  first 
named,  and  Franklin  and  his  colleagues  started  September 
9  to  keep  the  appointment.  The  admiral  sent  his  barge 
to  receive  them  and  to  leave  an  officer  as  a  hostage.  The 
committee  took  the  officer  back  with  them  in  the  barge. 
Lord  Howe  met  them  at  the  landing  and  led  them  to  a  reno- 
vated room  in  an  ancient  stone  house  where  they  found  an 
abundant  collation  of  "good  claret,  good  bread,  cold  ham, 
tongues,  and  mutton."  Nothing  satisfactory  resulted  from 
the  conference.  The  committee  reported  to  Congress,  "Upon 
the  whole  it  does  not  appear  to  your  committee,  that  his  Lord- 
ship's commission  contained  any  other  authority  of  impor- 
tance than  what  is  expressed  in  the  act  of  Parliament,  namely, 
that  of  granting  pardons,  with  such  exceptions  as  the  commis- 
sioners shall  think  proper  to  make,  and  of  declaring  America, 
or  any  part  of  it,  to  be  in  the  King's  peace,  upon  submission."  * 

1  "Lord  Howe  was  profuse  in  his  expressions  of  gratitude  to  the  State 
of  Massachusetts  for  erecting  a  marble  monument  in  Westminster  Abbey 
to  his  elder  brother,  Lord  Howe,  who  was  killed  in  America  in  the  last  French 
war,  saying,  '  he  esteemed  that  honour  to  his  family  above  all  things  in  this 
•world.  That  such  was  his  gratitude  and  affection  to  the  country  on  that 
account  that  he  felt  for  America  as  for  a  brother,  and  if  America  should  fall, 
he  should  feel  and  lament  it  like  the  loss  of  a  brother.'  Dr.  Franklin,  with 
an  easy  air  and  a  collected  countenance,  a  bow,  a  smile,  and  all  that  naivete 
which  sometimes  appeared  in  his  conversation,  and  is  often  observed  in  his 
writings,  replied,  '  My  Lord,  we  will  do  our  utmost  endeavours  to  spare  your 
Lordship  that  mortification.'  His  Lordship  appeared  to  feel  this  with  more 
sensibility  than  I  could  expect ;  but  he  only  returned,  '  I  suppose  you  will 
endeavour  to  give  us  employment  in  Europe.' "  "  The  Life  and  Works  of 
John  Adams,"  Vol.  Ill,  p.  79  ;  and  see  also  "  Life  of  Josiah  Quincy,"  p.  414. 



rf^sL)/^1  • N 


JOHN  JAY  related  a  strange  incident  which  occurred  in 
November,  1775.*  An  old  gentleman  of  French  appearance, 
lame,  and  with  a  military  bearing,  appeared  in  Philadelphia 
and  promised  to  Congress  the  assistance  of  Louis  XVI. 
"Gentlemen,"  said  the  mysterious  foreigner,  "if  you  want 
arms,  you  shall  have  them;  if  you  want  ammunition,  you 
shall  have  it ;  if  you  want  money,  you  shall  have  it."  Of  all 
these  things  the  Congress  had  urgent  need,  but  it  was  also 
necessary  that  they  should  know  the  name  and  credentials  of 
the  envoy  who  promised  so  liberally.  In  answer  to  such 
inquiries  he  drew  his  hand  with  a  significant  gesture  across 
his  throat,  and  said,  "Gentlemen,  I  shall  take  care  of  my 
head."  Nothing  further  was  learned  of  him,  and  in  another 
day  he  had  vanished  from  Philadelphia,  rather  than  removed 
in  any  bodily  sense. 

Many  were  convinced  that  he  was  really  an  emissary  of  the 
French  government.  Help  was  eagerly  and  confidently  looked 
for  from  abroad.  Spam,  Holland,  and  France  were  unsleeping 
enemies  of  Great  Britain.  Congress  was  prepared  to  believe 
that  France  would  welcome  an  opportunity  to  loosen  the 
ties  between  America  and  England.  A  committee  of  secret 
correspondence  was  appointed,  and  Franklin  penned  letters 
to  his  liberal  friends  in  England,  to  a  grandee  in  Spain,  a 
physician  in  Paris,  and  a  lawyer  at  The  Hague.  Silas  Deane 
was  despatched  to  France  with  instructions  drawn  up  by 
Franklin  to  engage  in  extensive  business  operations  for  the 
1  See  "  Life  of  John  Jay,"  Vol.  I,  p.  39. 


benefit  of  the  colonies.1  Ten  months  passed  away  while  the 
country  tossed  in  nervous  impatience,  waiting  for  some  word 
in  answer  to  the  letters,  or  for  some  sign  from  Silas  Deane. 
The  letter  that  then  arrived,  in  September,  1776,  from  Dr. 
Barbeu  Dubourg  encouraged  Congress  to  send  an  embassy 
to  France.  On  the  26th  of  December  they  unanimously 
elected  Franklin  and  Jefferson.  The  latter  declined  on 
account  of  the  ill  health  of  his  wife,  and  Arthur  Lee  was 
chosen  in  his  stead.  Silas  Deane  was  retained  as  the  third 
commissioner.  Turning  to  Dr.  Rush  who  sat  beside  him, 
Franklin  said,  when  the  result  of  the  balloting  was  announced, 
"I  am  old  and  good  for  nothing;  but,  as  the  store-keepers 
say  of  their  remnants  of  cloth,  'I  am  but  a  fag  end,  and  you 
may  have  me  for  what  you  please.' "  His  last  act  at  home, 
before  departing  upon  a  journey  from  which  it  was  probable 
he  would  never  return,  was  to  lend  to  Congress  between  three 
and  four  thousand  pounds. 

He  arrived  hi  France  on  the  Reprisal2  after  a  stormy 
voyage,  beaten  for  thirty  days  by  November  gales.  They 
brought  in  with  them  to  Quiberon  Bay  two  prizes,  a  brigantine 
laden  with  tar,  turpentine,  and  claret,  and  another  with  a 
cargo  of  cognac  and  flaxseed.  Franklin  went  ashore  at 
Auray,  in  Brittany,  so  weakened  by  the  voyage  that  he 
could  scarcely  stand,  and  on  the  7th  of  December  reached 
Nantes.  His  coming  was  unexpected,  but  he  had  friends  in 
the  city,  and  elaborate  entertainment  was  at  once  prepared 

1  Deane  arrived  in  France,  June,  1776,  and  was  in  Paris  on  the  5th  of 
July.  He  travelled  by  Bermudas  and  Spain,  the  route  of  greatest  security. 

a  A  sixteen-gun  ship,  commanded  by  Captain  Wickes.  Franklin  was  ac- 
companied by  William  Temple  Franklin  (aged  seventeen)  the  illegitimate  son 
of  William  Franklin,  and  Benjamin  Franklin  Bache  (aged  seven),  eldest  son 
of  Sarah  (Franklin)  Bache. 


for  him.  Lord  Stormont,  the  British  ambassador  in  Paris, 
wrote  to  Lord  Weymouth  (December  n,  1776):  "I  learnt 
yesterday  evening  that  the  famous  Doctor  Franklin  is  arrived 
at  Nantes,  with  his  two  grandchildren.  They  came  on  an 
American  privateer,  which  took  several  English  vessels  in 
her  passage.  Some  people  think  that  either  some  private 
dissatisfaction  or  despair  of  success  have  brought  him  into 
this  country.1  I  cannot  but  suspect  that  he  comes  charged 
with  a  secret  commission  from  the  Congress,  and  as  he  is  a 
subtle  artful  man,  and  void  of  all  truth,  he  will  in  that  case 
use  every  means  to  deceive,  will  avail  himself  of  the  general 
ignorance  of  the  French,  to  paint  the  situation  of  the  rebels  in 
the  falsest  colours,  and  hold  out  every  lure  to  the  ministers, 
to  draw  them  into  an  open  support  of  that  cause.  He  has  the 
advantage  of  several  intimate  connexions  here,  and  stands 
high  in  the  general  opinion.  In  a  word,  my  Lord,  I  look  upon 
him  as  a  dangerous  engine,  and  am  very  sorry  that  some 
English  frigate  did  not  meet  with  him  by  the  way." 

A  second  letter,  written  the  next  day  (December  12)  by 
Lord  Stormont  to  the  same  correspondent,  and  marked 
"most  confidential,"  read  as  follows:  — 

"I  am  forced  to  trouble  Your  Lordship  with  a  few  Words 
more.  My  suspicions  with  regard  to  Franklin  are  con- 
firmed. He  came  over  in  a  Forty  Gun  Ship  to  give  more 
Eclat  to  his  Mission  and  was  at  Versailles  last  Night  as  I  am 
positively  assured.  He  pressed  to  be  instantly  recd  as  a 
Minister  from  the  Independent  Colonies  but  in  a  Council  that 
was  held  last  Night  upon  the  occasion,  It  was  resolved 

1  A  belief  expressed  by  Franklin's  old  friend,  Sir  Grey  Cooper,  who  wrote 

from  New  York  (October  28,  1776),  "The  arch Dr.  Franklin  has  lately 

eloped  under  the  cloak  of  plenipotentiary  to  Versailles." 


to  decline  this  for  the  present.  He  talks  the  Language  I 
expected,  represents  the  Affairs  of  the  Rebels  as  being  in  the 
most  flourishing  Condition,  says  that  General  Howe  never 
will  dare  to  attack  Washington  and  adds  that  the  Hessians 
who  were  advanced  before  the  Main  Army  had  attacked,  and 
had  been  repulsed  with  loss.  It  is  not  to  be  doubted  that  he 
will  make  France  the  Most  insidious  and  tempting  offers, 
and  there  is,  I  think,  but  too  much  Reason  to  fear  that  he  will 
draw  her  into  the  Snare." 

Stormont  corrected  his  error  concerning  the  visit  to  De 
Vergennes  in  a  letter  of  December  the  eighteenth.  Half  Paris 
believed  that  Franklin  had  gone  at  once  to  Versailles;  but 
he  tarried  a  fortnight  at  Nantes,  while  his  presence  in  Europe 
continued  to  excite  universal  interest  and  curiosity.  Madame 
du  Deffand  wrote  to  Horace  Walpole:  "The  object  of  Dr. 
Franklin's  visit  is  still  problematical ;  and  what  is  the  most 
singular  of  all  is  that  no  one  can  tell  whether  he  is  actually  in 
Paris  or  not.  For  three  or  four  days  it  has  been  said  in  the 
morning  that  he  had  arrived  and  in  the  evening  that  he  had 
not  yet  come."  l 

While  the  ministers  with  more  or  less  success  sought  to 
persuade  themselves  that  Franklin  was  seeking  safety  in 
selfish  flight  from  a  forlorn  cause,  statesmen,  like  Burke 
and  Rockingham,  were  undeceived.  "I  persuade  myself," 
wrote  Burke,  "that  Franklin  is  come  to  Paris  to  draw  from 

1  Deane  wrote  to  the  Committee  of  Correspondence  that  for  a  long  time 
nothing  had  so  occupied  the  minds  of  people  as  the  arrival  of  Franklin. 
The  prefect  of  police  informed  De  Vergennes  that  a  great  sensation  in  Paris 
had  been  occasioned  by  the  approach  of  Franklin,  and  that  the  departure  of 
Beaumarchais  had  caused  no  less  sensation.  The  public  connected  the  two 
circumstances  and  found  in  the  coincidence  a  proof  that  the  insurgents  had 
no  desire  for  reconciliation.  See  Doniol,  Vol.  II,  p.  101. 


that  court  a  definitive  and  satisfactory  answer  concerning 
the  support  of  the  colonies.  If  he  cannot  get  such  an  answer, 
(and  I  am  of  opinion  that  at  present  he  cannot,)  then  it  is  to 
be  presumed  he  is  authorized  to  negotiate  with  Lord  Stor- 
mont  on  the  basis  of  dependence  on  the  crown.  This  I  take 
to  be  his  errand :  for  I  never  can  believe  that  he  is  come  thither 
as  a  fugitive  from  his  cause  in  the  hour  of  its  distress,  or  that 
he  is  going  to  conclude  a  long  life,  which  has  brightened  every 
hour  it  has  continued,  with  so  foul  and  dishonourable  flight." 

Lord  Rockingham,  replying  to  some  correspondent  who  had 
communicated  to  him  the  news  of  Franklin's  arrival,  said : 
"In  regard  to  this  event  I  cannot  refrain  from  paying  my 
tribute  of  admiration  to  the  vigour,  magnanimity  and  deter- 
mined resolution  of  the  Old  Man.  The  horrid  scene  at  a 
Privy  Council  is  in  my  memory,  though  perhaps  not  in  his.  It 
may  not  excite  his  conduct.  It  certainly  deters  him  not. — 
He  boldly  ventures  to  cross  the  Atlantic  in  an  American  little 
frigate,  and  risks  the  dangers  of  being  taken,  and  being 
once  more  brought  before  an  implacable  tribunal.  The 
sight  of  Banquo's  ghost  could  not  more  offend  the  eyes  of 
Macbeth,  than  the  knowledge  of  this  old  man  being  at 
Versailles,  should  affect  the  minds  of  those  who  were  prin- 
cipals in  that  horrid  scene. 

"  Depend  upon  it  he  will  plead  forcibly.  He  has  but  to 
combat  a  degree  of  folly  in  a  very  few  hi  France.  He  is  so 
armed  with  proofs  of  the  facility  with  which  France  and  Spain 
may  now  give  a  deadly  blow  to  this  country,  that  I  can  no 
longer  enjoy  the  chief  comfort  I  had  in  the  reliance,  that 
though  the  political  conduct  of  this  country  was  weak  or 
infatuated  beyond  all  bounds  —  yet  the  Courts  of  France  and 
Spain  were  still  more  weak  and  blind. 


"I  am  very  curious  to  know  what  reception  your  information 
will  meet  from  the  Ministers.  Inwardly  they  will  tremble  at 
it.  They  may  appear  to  think  slightly  of  the  effects  it  will 
have.  They  will  cherish  a  fond  hope  that  France  will  not 
listen.  In  the  mean  time  they  will  try  to  raise  more  and  more 
indignation  here  against  the  Americans  for  this  strong  effort 
of  application  to  France."  * 

When  his  strength  was  somewhat  restored,  Franklin  pro- 
ceeded to  Paris,  and  entered  the  city  at  two  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  of  December  22.  Dr.  Barbeu  Dubourg  had  al- 
ready sent  cards  to  all  his  acquaintance  to  announce  his  com- 
ing. Beaumarchais,  in  the  luxurious  office  of  Hortalez  &  Co., 
—  the  mysterious  firm  that  was  to  finance  the  American  Revo- 
lution, —  a  harp  by  his  hand,  and  a  score  book  on  the  table, 
awaited  an  interview  with  the  only  man  who  was  his  equal  in 
wit,  courage,  versatility  and  sagacity.  Madame  du  Deffand 
immediately  reported  the  news  of  his  arrival  to  Horace  Wai- 
pole,  as  the  event  of  most  sensational  interest.  He  went  at 
once  to  the  ancient  Hdtel  d'Hambourg,  in  the  rue  de  1'Uni- 
versite",  where  Silas  Deane  lodged.  Later,  to  escape  the 
curious  crowds  that  pressed  about  his  doors,  intruded  upon 
various  pretexts  into  his  presence,  and  followed  him  with 
applause,  whenever  he  walked  abroad,  he  removed  to  Passy, 
where,  in  the  H6tel  Valentinois,  a  dependance  of  the  luxuri- 
ous home  of  Le  Ray  de  Chaumont,  he  found  a  quiet  retreat 
where  it  was  possible  for  him  to  command  time  for  the  de- 
spatch of  public  business,  and  the  conduct  of  his  incredibly 
voluminous  correspondence  with  all  the  world.  Chaumont 

1  Letter  dated  "  Wectworth,  Thursday  night,  December  (1776),"  published 
in  "Memoirs  of  the  Marquis  of  Rockingham"  (Albemarle),  1852,  Vol.  II, 
p.  3°2. 

VOL.  X  —  X 


was  Grand  Maltre  des  Eaux  et  Forets  de  France  and 
Intendant  Honoraire  des  Invalides.  He  was  rich  and  oc- 
cupied the  Chateau  of  Chaumont,  on  the  Loire,  and  a 
house  at  Passy.1  He  was  the  close  friend  of  the  Due  de 
Choiseul,  his  neighbour  at  Chaumont,  and  had  declined 
his  invitation  to  enter  the  Ministry,  as  he  preferred  to 
act  as  an  intermediary  between  the  commissioners  and 

Everywhere  Franklin  was  received  with  an  abundant  cor- 
diality, respect,  and  affection  for  which  history  furnishes 
scarcely  a  parallel.  Every  word  he  uttered  was  caught  and 
pondered,  and  remembered;  every  action  was  studied  and 
imitated.  In  him  was  the  promise  of  better  days  and  the 
augury  of  a  more  fortunate  social  order. 

On  the  23d  of  December,  the  commissioners,  giving 
themselves  the  title  of  plenipotentiaries,  addressed  their 
first  official  communication  to  the  Count  de  Vergennes:  — 


We  beg  leave  to  acquaint  your  Excellency  that  we  are  ap- 
pointed and  fully  impowered  by  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States  of  America,  to  propose  and  negotiate  a  Treaty  of 
Amity  and  Commerce  between  France  and  the  said  States.  — 
The  just  and  generous  Treatment  their  Trading  Ships  have 
received,  by  a  free  Admission  into  the  Ports  of  this  Kingdom, 
with  other  Considerations  of  Respect,  has  induced  the  Con- 
gress to  make  this  Offer  first  to  France.  We  request  an 
Audience  of  your  ExcellT  wherein  we  may  have  an  Oppor- 
tunity of  presenting  our  Credentials ;  and  we  flatter  ourselves, 

1  John  Locke  was  in  Paris  in  1679,  and  mentioned  the  H8tel  da  Chaumont 
among  the  twenty-four  belles  maisons  best  worth  seeing  in  the  city. 


that  the  Propositions  we  are  instructed  to  make,  are  such  as 
will  not  be  found  unacceptable. 
With  the  greatest  Regard,  we  have  the  Honour  to  be, 
Your  Excellency's  most  obedient 

And  most  humble  Servants 


The  audience  was  granted  December  28.  The  commis- 
sioners were  received  with  great  respect.  They  presented 
their  credentials  and  proposed  the  terms  of  a  treaty  of  amity 
and  commerce  they  desired  to  conclude  with  France.  They 
asked  the  government  to  furnish  Congress  with  eight  ships  of 
the  line,  for  which  Congress  would  pay  in  full.  They  received 
in  reply  good  words  cautiously  uttered.  De  Vergennes  com- 
plimented Franklin  on  his  celebrity,  and  his  knowledge,  and 
spoke  of  the  honour  of  seeing  so  distinguished  a  person,  on  an 
errand  of  the  first  consequence.1  But  he  was  fearful  of  a 
sudden  rupture  with  Great  Britain;  he  was  not  yet  certain 
of  the  strength  of  the  colonies.  He  assured  the  commissioners 
of  the  good-will  and  protection  of  the  king,  and  desired  them 
to  submit  their  propositions  in  writing  to  M.  Gerard  de 
Rayneval,  Secretary  of  the  Foreign  Office. 

The  watchful  Stormont  gathered  from  his  informants  some 
inkling  of  the  interview,  and  reported  it  in  dreadful  secrecy 
to  Lord  Weymouth :  — 

Paris  Jany  i".  1777 

9|6  3|C  5fC  9|C  5fC  3fC  yfc 

Franklin,  who  came  back  from  Versailles  much  dissatisfied, 

1  Paul  Wentworth  to  the  Earl  of  Suffolk,  January  25,  1777. 


has  since  that  time,  made  several  endeavours,  to  be  admitted 
to  see  M.  de  Vergennes,  and  I  strongly  suspect,  did  see  him 
on  Saturday  last,  I  know  at  least  that  He,  and  Dean  went  to 
Versailles  that  day.  M  de  Vergennes  has  affected  to  say,  to 
several  Persons,  of  late,  that  it  would  be  impossible  for  him  to 
refuse  to  see  Mr  Franklin,  as  it  was  a  General  Rule  with 
Ministers,  to  see  and  hear  everybody.  Franklin  who  is  much 
at  home,  is,  I  am  told,  frequently  visited  by  different  Persons 
of  the  Choiseul  Party,  but  particularly  by  M  de  Flainville. 
The  Duke  of  Choiseul,  Franklin,  and  Deane,  met  on  Monday 
Evening,  at  a  Ladys  House  of  my  acquaintance,  and  I 
am  much  inclined  to  believe,  that  the  Meeting  was  not 

It  is  certain,  that  the  Choiseul  Party  take  Franklin  by  the 
Hand,  openly  espouse  the  cause  of  the  Rebels,  and  Rail  in  all 
companies,  at  the  Weakness  of  the  present  french  Ministers, 
who  say  they,  lose  such  an  opportunity,  of  giving  the  Natural 
Rival,  and  enemy  of  France  a  Mortal  Blow.  Your  Lordship 
sees  that  by  this  Means,  Franklin  will  become  an  Instru- 
ment of  Faction,  which  I  hope  will  rather  obstruct,  than 
facilitate  his  Negotiations.  The  Language  he  Effects  to 
hold,  to  his  intimates,  is,  that  he  accepted  this  commission 
very  unwillingly,  that  he  told  the  Congress,  that  all  he  could  do, 
was  to  go  to  France,  and  die  there  in  their  Service,  that  the 
stuff  was  almost  worn  out,  but  the  last  thread  of  it  was  at  their 
Disposal.  I  purposely  repeat  all  this,  to  shew  your  Lordship, 
the  canting  Tone  he  assumes. 

I  cannot  yet  pretend  to  form  any  decisive  Judgement,  as  to 
his  success :  My  poor  opinion  is,  that  the  present  French  Min- 
isters wish  to  wound,  but  are  afraid  to  strike,  and  tho'  the 
offers  he  makes,  may  tempt  them,  they  will  think  twice,  before 


they  expose  themselves,  and  their  Country,  to  the  Hazard  of  an 
unnecessary  War;  however  this  may  be,  I  am  persuaded,  that 
it  is  on  our  constant  Vigilance,  at  Home  and  uninterrupted 
Success  in  America  that  the  Continuance  of  the  public  Tran- 
quillity, must  ultimately  depend.  I  am  with  the  greatest 
Truth  and  Respect,  etc. 


The  commissioners  presented  their  memorial  to  Ge'rard. 
They  received  no  positive  promise  of  aid,  or  loan  of  ships,  but 
were  told  that  they  could  have  two  million  francs  without 
interest,  to  be  repaid  when  the  United  States  should  be  settled 
in  peace  and  prosperity.  Franklin  wrote  of  this  loan  to  the 
Secret  Committee  (January  17,  1777):  "No  conditions  or 
security  are  required,  not  even  an  engagement  from  us.  We 
have  accepted  this  generous  and  noble  benefaction;  five 
hundred  thousand  francs,  or  one  quarter,  is  to  be  paid  into 
the  hands  of  our  banker  this  day,  and  five  hundred  thou- 
sand more  every  three  months."  On  the  22d  of  January  he 
added  a  postscript  to  his  letter,  "We  have  received  the  five 
hundred  thousand  francs  mentioned  above,  and  our  banker 
has  orders  to  advance  us  the  second  payment  if  we  desire  it." 

January  the  fifth,  Franklin  asked  Vergennes  to  admit  him 
and  his  colleagues  to  a  second  audience  the  next  day.  The 
minister,  fearful  of  the  reports  that  might  be  flung  abroad  by 
the  English  spies  who  were  watching  every  movement  made 
by  Franklin,  instructed  Ge'rard  to  reply  that  he  could  not 
receive  them  upon  that  day  at  Versailles,  but  that  he  would  see 
them  on  Tuesday  in  Paris.  The  meeting  actually  took  place 
January  the  ninth,  at  Versailles,  when  a  memorandum  was 
submitted  relating  to  the  financial  resources  of  the  United 


States.  At  this  meeting,  according  to  Paul  Wentworth's 
report  to  the  Earl  of  Suffolk,  the  deputies  were  "attended 
by  the  gentleman  your  Lordship  knows,  by  the  name  of 
Edwards,  as  their  secretary."  The  mysterious  person  named 
Edwards  is  generally  believed  to  have  been  Dr.  Edward 
Bancroft,  concerning  whom  very  different  opinions  have  been 
entertained  by  historians.  Bancroft  called  him  "a  double 
spy,"  George  III  believed  him  to  be  "entirely  an  American," 
while  Henri  Doniol  declared  him  to  be  "au  gages  du  foreign 
office."  English  spies  abounded  in  Paris,  and  the  corre- 
spondence of  Franklin  and  Deane  was  intercepted  and  furtively 
examined.  Captains  of  American  vessels  were  tracked  by 
spies  who  pandered  to  their  vices,  or  paid  them  out  of  hand 
for  secret  intelligence  that  they  might  have  from  America,  or 
which  they  might  become  aware  of  in  France.  The  "Rev- 
erend" John  Vardill  sought  the  acquaintance  of  Captain 
Joseph  Hynson,  and  communicated  what  he  learned  to  Lord 

George  Lupton  ingratiated  himself  into  the  favour  of  the 
group  that  gathered  about  Deane,  who  kept  a  table  at  the 
H6tel  d'Hambourg  for  Carmichael,  Wickes,  Hynson,  Nichol- 
son, Moylan,  W.  T.  Franklin,  and  others  of  his  countrymen 
who  were  engaged  in  the  service  of  the  Congress.  Several 
of  them  lodged  hi  the  house  and  were  supplied  with  money 
by  Silas  Deane.  Hynson,  who  was  a  brother-in-law  of  Cap- 
tain Wickes,  the  captain  of  the  Reprisal,  in  which  Franklin 
had  crossed  the  ocean,  lived  in  particular  intimacy  with  Car- 

1  Stormont  wrote  to  William  Eden  (April  1 6,  1777),  "I  am  more  and 
more  persuaded  that  Hynson  is,  in  some  respects  at  least,  an  instrument  in 
Deane's  hands,  but  taking  him  upon  that  footing  some  use  may  be  made  of 
him,  as  he  is  not  a  man  of  real  ability  and  may  easily  be  drawn  on  to  say 
more  than  he  intends." 


michael.  Captain  Nicholson,  too,  was  upon  terms  of  con- 
fidence with  Carmichael,  and  their  mistresses,  who  had  lived 
together  in  London,  were  now  dwelling  together  in  Paris. 

It  was  through  Carmichael  that  Lupton  discovered  the 
name  (M.  Benson)  under  which  Deane  received  letters  from 

The  most  singular  document  of  this  kind  is  the  engage- 
ment of  Dr.  Edwards  [Bancroft  ?]  to  correspond  with  Paul 
Wentworth  and  Lord  Stormont,  and  the  means  of  conducting 
that  correspondence,  written  in  the  hand  of  Paul  Wentworth, 
and  now  among  the  Auckland  Manuscripts  at  King's  College, 

"  D.  Edwards  engages  to  Correspond  with  M.  Wentworth 
&  to  communicate  to  him,  whatever  may  come  to  his  knowl- 
edge on  the  following  subjects.  — 

"  The  progress  of  the  Treaty  with  France,  &  of  the  As- 
sistance expected,  or  Commerce  carryed  on  in  any  of  the  ports 
of  that  Kingdom,  —  The  Same  with  Spain,  &  of  every  other 
Court  in  Europe.  The  Agents  in  ye  foreign  Islands  in 
America,  &  the  means  of  carrying  on  the  Commerce  with 
the  Northern  Colonys. 

"  The  means  of  obtaining  Credit  —  Effects  &  Money :  & 
the  Channells  &  agents  used  to  apply  them ;  the  secret  moves 
about  the  Courts  of  France  &  Spain,  &  the  Congress 
Agents  &  having  the  lines  from  one  to  the  other. 

"  Franklins  &  Dean's  Correspondence  with  the  Congress, 
&  their  Agents:  and  the  secret  as  well  as  the  ostensible 
Letters  from  the  Congress  to  them.  Copys  of  any  transactions, 

1  Lupton  quoted  Carmichael  as  saying  that  "  neither  Franklin  nor  Deane 
are  capable  of  doing  the  business  for  which  they  were  designed." 


committed  to  Paper,  &  an  exact  account  of  all  intercourse 
&  the  subject  matter  treated  of,  between  the  Courts  of 
Versailles  &  Madrid,  and  the  Agents  from  the  Congress. 

"  Subjects  to  be  communicated  to  Lord  Stormont. 
"Names  of  the  two  Carolina  Ships,  Masters  both  English 
&  French,  description  of  the  Ships,  &  Cargoes :  the  time 
of  sailing,  &  the  port  bound  to  — 

"  The  same  Circumstances  respecting  all  equipments  in  any 
port  in  Europe :  together  with  the  names  of  the  Agents  im- 

"  The  intelligence  that  may  arrive  from  America,  the  Cap- 
tures made  by  their  privateers,  &  the  instructions  they 
receive  from  the  deputys. 

"  How  the  Captures  are  disposed  of. 

"  Means  for  conducting  the  correspondence. 

"  For  Lord  Stormont  —  all  Letters  directed  to  Mr.  Richard- 
son —  written  on    Gallantry  —  but    the  white    Parts   of 
the  paper  to  contain  the  intelligence  written  with  invisible 
Ink  —  the  Wash  to  make  which  appear,  is  given  to  Ld  St. 
"  In  these  Letters,  or  the  Covers  not  visibly  written  on,  will  be 
contained  what  L?  St.  :  will  be  pleased  to  fold  up,  &  direct 
in  a  Cover  to  W.  Wentworth  —  &  send  it  by  messenger. 
"  All  packetts  which  M.  Mary  may  send  to  Lord  Stormont,  to 
be  sent  unopened  to  W.  W.  by  Messenger  only.     Mr.  Jeans 
will  call  every  Tuesday  Evening  after  halfpast  Nine,  at  the 
Tree  pointed  out  on  the  S.  Terrace  of  the  Tuilleries  &  take 
from  the  Hole  at  the  root  —  the  Bottle  containing  a  Letter : 
—  "  And  place  under  the  Box-Tree  agreed  on,  a  bottle  con- 
taining any  Communications  from  Lord  Stormont  to  Dr. 


Edwards.  All  Letters  to  be  Numbered  with  white  Ink,  The 
bottle  to  be  sealed  —  &  tyed  by  the  Neck  with  a  common 
twyne,  about  half  a  Yard  in  length  —  the  other  end  of  which 
to  be  fastened  to  a  peg  of  wood,  split  at  top  to  receive  a  very 
small  piece  of  a  Cord  —  the  bottle  to  be  thrust  under  the  Tree, 
&  the  Peg  into  the  Ground  on  the  west  side." 

So  numerous  and  questionable  were  the  strangers  who 
prowled  about  the  neighbourhood  of  Passy  that  Lenoir,  the 
chief  of  police,  received  orders  to  take  particular  precautions 
for  Franklin's  safety.  The  following  paragraph  appeared 
in  the  Nouvelles  de  Divers  Endroits,  Supplement,  No  67, 
August  20,  1777:  "Certain  sinister-looking  persons,  seen 
lurking  around  Dr.  Franklin's  lodgings  at  Passy,  and  others 
no  less  suspected,  who  have  even  penetrated  to  his  presence 
upon  different  pretexts,  have  led  the  government  to  give 
positive  orders  to  the  Lieutenant  General  of  Police  to  watch 
over  the  safety  of  this  respectable  old  man,  and  take  all  the 
precautions  to  this  end  that  prudence  could  suggest." 

By  means  of  these  secret  sources  of  information  Stormont 
learned  of  the  proceedings  in  the  ports  of  France,  and  by  his 
remonstrances  to  the  court  succeeded  in  having  vessels  de- 
tained, and  the  transportation  of  goods  impeded.  "Pray 
recollect  what  I  told  you,"  Vergennes  wrote  to  Dubourg  (June, 
1776),  "one  can  connive  at  certain  things  but  one  cannot 
authorize  them."  With  the  best  will  in  the  world  the  Min- 
ister dared  not  carry  his  cheerful  connivance  so  far  as  to  give 
occasion  to  Stormont  to  ask  for  his  passports. 

Franklin's  letters,  too,  were  opened  by  Anthony  Todd,  the 
secretary  of  the  general  post-office  in  London,  their  contents 
copied,  and  reclosed  and  fastened  with  imitations  of  the  seals. 


Stormont  had  discovered  that  Franklin  carried  on  at  least  an 
occasional  correspondence  with  Lord  Shelburne,  Lord 
Camden,  Thomas  Walpole,  Samuel  Wharton  (Lisle  Street), 
Thomas  Wharton  (Suffolk  Street),  and  Mr.  Williams  of 
Queen  Street,  Cheapside,  and  that  these  letters  were  addressed 
to  Jones,  Jackson,  Johnson,  Watson,  and  Nicholson. 

In  the  spring  of  1777  the  envoys  turned  their  attention  to 
other  courts.  At  the  suggestion  of  Vergennes,  Franklin  had 
entered  into  communication  with  Conde  d'Aranda  with  a 
view  to  winning  the  aid  of  Spain.  Carmichael  had  sounded 
the  Swedish  Minister  at  The  Hague  on  the  possibility  of  getting 
stores  from  Sweden,  but  had  been  discouraged  from  under- 
taking a  journey  to  Stockholm.  Arthur  Lee  started  for 
Spain,  but  was  informed  before  he  reached  that  country  that 
the  government  would  prefer  not  to  be  embarrassed  by  the 
presence  of  an  American  envoy  at  Madrid.  Lee  obtained  a 
few  supplies  and,  seeing  further  concessions  impossible,  re- 
turned to  Paris  and  set  forth  for  Berlin,  travelling  in  an  English 
postchaise,  painted  deep  green,  and  with  A.L.  in  cipher  upon 
the  panels.  Sayre,  an  American  adventurer  who  had  formerly 
been  an  alderman  in  London,  accompanied  him  with  the  in- 
tention of  proceeding  to  St.  Petersburg  to  make  a  conquest  of 
the  empress.  Lee  could  not  persuade  Frederick  the  Great 
into  an  alliance,  and  by  his  expedition  rendered  to  his  country 
only  the  negative  service  of  leaving  his  colleagues  in  Paris 
free  for  six  months  to  act  according  to  their  wisdom  without 
his  arrogant  interference. 

Now  began  nine  years  of  toil  incredible,  of  heart-breaking 
disappointments,  worries  innumerable,  through  all  which 
Franklin  moved  patiently,  tranquilly,  deliberately,  emerging 
triumphantly  at  last  to  throw  himself  into  the  arms  of  the 


Due  de  Rochefoucauld,  after  signing  the  treaty  of  Peace,  ex- 
claiming, "  My  friend,  could  I  have  hoped,  at  my  age,  to  enjoy 
such  a  happiness?" 

The  business  of  the  embassy  was  enormous.  Franklin 
was  constantly  harassed  by  troops  of  young  military  officers 
who  craved  positions  in  the  continental  army.  Commis- 
sions and  letters  of  recommendation  descended  upon  him  in 
overwhelming  volume.  He  dreaded  to  dine  abroad,  being 
almost  sure  of  meeting  with  some  officer,  or  officer's  friend, 
who  as  soon  as  he  should  be  put  in  good  humour  by  a  glass  or 
two  of  champagne,  would  begin  his  attack  upon  him. 

To  further  the  accomplishment  of  the  objects  urged  upon 
him  by  the  Secret  Committee  he  lived  with  the  pen  in  his 
hand.  He  wrote  to  various  continental  papers,  letters  and 
articles  upon  "American  Credit,"  "A  Catechism  relative  to  the 
English  National  Debt,"  and  "A  Dialogue  between  Britain, 
France,  Spain,  Holland,  Saxony,  and  America,"  all  calculated 
to  embarrass  England  in  the  negotiation  of  loans,  and  to  pro- 
mote the  credit  of  America.  The  official  correspondence  of 
the  embassy  entailed  heavy  burdens.  Four  or  five  copies  had 
to  be  made  of  every  document.  No  provision  had  been  made 
for  a  secretary,  and  Franklin  was  obliged  to  rely  upon  his 
grandson  to  sort  and  arrange  the  ever  increasing  mass  of 
papers  relating  to  the  office  and  to  make  copies  of  the  de- 
spatches to  America.1 

He  had  now  arranged  his  household  at  Passy.  He  em- 
ployed a  maitre  d'h6tel,  who,  according  to  the  agreement,  was 
to  provide  daily  dejeuner  and  dinner  for  five  persons.  The 

1  Franklin  paid  him,  for  the  first  year,  six  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  :  for 
the  second  year,  eight  hundred  ;  the  third,  nine  hundred  ;  the  fourth,  twelve 
hundred  ;  and  thereafter,  fifteen  hundred. 


dejeuner  was  to  consist  of  bread  and  butter,  honey,  and  coffee 
or  chocolate  with  sugar.  The  dinner  was  to  include  a  joint 
of  beef,  or  veal  or  mutton,  followed  by  fowl  or  game  with 
"deux  plats  d'entremets,  deux  plats  de  legumes,  et  un  plat  de 
Pattisserie,  avec  hors  d'ceuvre,  de  Beurres,  cornichons, 
radis,  etc. ;  pour  le  Dessert  deux  de  Fruit  en  hiver,  et  4  en  Etc". 
Deux  compottes.  Un  assiette  de  fromage,  un  de  Biscuits,  et 
un  de  bonbons.  —  Des  Glaces,  2  fois  par  Semaine  en  Etc* 
et  un  fois  en  Hyver."  For  this  service  Franklin  paid  720 
livres  a  month  for  the  family,  and  240  livres  for  his  nine 
domestic  servants.  For  extra  dinners  to  guests  he  allowed 
400  livres  per  month.  Thus  his  table  cost  him  1360  francs. 
Upon  the  first  of  February  (1778)  he  had  in  his  cellar  1040 
bottles  of  wine,  classified  as  follows :  — 

Vin  rouge  de  Bordeaux       ....          85 

Vin  de  Chairaisse 148 

Vin  blanc  de  Bordeaux       ....          34 
Vin  rouge  de  Bordeaux  (1761)  .        .          15 

Vin  rouge  de  Bordeaux  (bottled  at  Passy)  159 

Vin  blanc  de  Champagne  .        .        .          21 

Vin  blanc  de  Moussie          ....        326 
Vin  de  bourgogne,  rouge     .        .        .        .        113 

Vin  rouge  ordinaire 209 

Vin  blanc  ordinaire     ......          10 

Vin  inconnu  demi  bouteille         .        .        .          12 

Rum  .        .        .       Vi     ...          48 

Upon  the  ist  of  September,  1782,  he  again  took  account  of 

the  contents  of  the  cellar,  and  found    that   he   had    1203 

bottles  in  stock.     His  hired  carriage  cost  him  12  livres  and  24 

sols  per  day,  but  as  he  had  to  clothe  his  coachman,  to  have  him 

appear  "decent,"  and  his  clothes  cost  200  livres  a  year,  the 


total  cost  of  his  carriage  and  coachman  was  5018  livres  per 
year.  Chaumont  gave  his  house  freely  to  the  envoys  and 
stripped  himself  of  his  fortune  to  supply  American  necessities. 
"So much  the  worse,"  said  he,  "for  those  who  would  not  do 
the  same  if  they  had  the  opportunity ;  so  much  the  better 
for  me  to  have  immortalized  my  house  by  receiving  into  it 
Dr.  Franklin  and  his  associates." 

John  Adams  wrote  him  (September  16,  1778):  — 


"As  our  finances  are  at  present  in  a  situation  seriously 
critical,  and  as  I  hold  myself  accountable  to  Congress  for 
every  part  of  my  conduct  even  to  the  smallest  article  of  my 
expenses  I  must  beg  the  favour  of  you  to  consider  what  rent 
we  ought  to  pay  you  for  this  house  and  furniture,  both  for 
the  time  past  and  to  come. 

"  Every  part  of  your  conduct  towards  me  and  towards  our 
Americans  in  general,  and  in  all  our  affairs,  has  been  polite 
and  obliging,  as  far  as  I  have  had  an  opportunity  of  observing, 
and  I  have  no  doubt  it  will  continue  so ;  yet  it  is  not  reasonable 
that  the  United  States  should  be  under  so  great  obligation  to  a 
private  gentleman  as  that  two  of  their  representatives  should 
occupy  for  so  long  a  time  so  elegant  a  seat  with  so  much  fur- 
niture and  such  fine  accommodations,  without  any  compensa- 
tion ;  and  in  order  to  avoid  the  danger  of  the  disapprobation  of 
our  constituents  on  the  one  hand  for  living  here  at  too  great 
or  at  too  uncertain  an  expense,  and,  on  the  other,  the  censure 
of  the  world  for  not  making  sufficient  compensation  to  a  gentle- 
man who  has  done  so  much  for  our  convenience,  it  seems  to  me 
necessary  that  we  should  come  to  an  understanding  upon  this 


"As  you  have  an  account  against  the  Commissioners,  or 
against  the  United  States  for  several  other  matters,  I  should  be 
obliged  to  you  if  you  would  send  it  hi  as  soon  as  possible,  as 
every  day  makes  it  more  and  more  necessary  for  us  to  look 
into  our  affairs  with  the  utmost  precision." 

Chaumont  replied :  — 

"Passy,  September  18, 1778. 

"I  have  received  the  letter  which  you  did  me  the  honour  to 
write  to  me  on  the  i5th  inst.  making  inquiry  as  to  the  rent  of 
my  house  in  which  you  live  for  the  past  and  the  future. 
When  I  consecrated  my  home  to  Dr.  Franklin  and  his  as- 
sociates who  might  live  with  him,  I  made  it  fully  understood 
that  I  should  expect  no  compensation,  because  I  perceived 
that  you  had  need  of  all  your  means  to  send  to  the  succour 
of  your  country,  or  to  relieve  the  distresses  of  your  country- 
men escaping  from  the  chains  of  their  enemies.  I  pray  you, 
sir,  to  permit  this  arrangement  to  remain,  which  I  made  when 
the  fate  of  your  country  was  doubtful.  When  she  shall  en- 
joy all  her  splendour,  such  sacrifices  on  my  part  will  be  super- 
fluous or  unworthy  of  her;  but  at  present  they  may  be 
useful,  and  I  am  happy  hi  offering  them  to  you." 

John  Adams  submitted  to  Franklin  a  plan  with  regard  to 
their  accounts. 

"Passy  September  22,  1778 

"  Upon  looking  over  the  account  of  the  expenditure  of  the 
money  for  which  we  have  jointly  drawn  upon  the  banker, 
since  my  arrival  at  Passy,  I  find  some  articles  charged  for 
similar  ones  to  which  I  have  paid  in  my  separate  capacity. 


I  do  not  mean  to  be  difficult  about  these  things,  but  that  we 
may  have  a  plan  for  the  future,  I  beg  leave  to  propose,  that  the 
wages  and  expenses  of  the  maitre  d'hdtel  and  cook,  and  of  all 
the  servants,  their  clothes,  and  every  other  expense  for  them, 
the  wages,  clothes,  and  other  expenses  of  the  coachman,  the 
hire  of  the  horses  and  carriage,  the  expenses  of  postage  of 
letters,  of  expresses  to  Versailles  and  Paris,  and  elsewhere,  of 
stationary  ware,  and  all  the  expenses  of  the  family,  should  be 
paid  out  of  the  money  to  be  drawn  from  the  banker  by  our 
joint  order.  If  to  these  Dr.  Franklin  chooses  to  add  the 
washerwoman's  accounts  for  our  servants  etc.  as  well  as  our- 
selves, I  have  no  objection ;  receipts  to  be  taken  for  payments 
of  money,  and  each  party  furnished  with  a  copy  of  the  account 
and  a  sight  of  the  receipts  once  a  month,  if  he  desires  it.  The 
expenses  of  a  clerk  for  each  may  be  added,  if  Dr.  Franklin 
pleases,  or  this  may  be  a  separate  expense,  as  he  chooses. 
Expenses  for  clothes,  books,  and  other  things,  and  transient 
pocket  expenses,  to  be  separate.  Or,  if  any  other  plan  is 
more  agreeable  to  Dr.  Franklin,  Mr.  Adams  begs  him  to 
propose  it.  The  accounts  for  our  sons  at  school  may  be 
added,  if  Dr.  Franklin  chooses  it,  to  the  general  account,  or 
otherwise.  For  my  own  part,  when  I  left  America,  I  ex- 
pected, and  had  no  other  thought,  but  to  be  at  the  expense 
of  my  son's  subsistence  and  education  here  in  my  private 
capacity,  and  I  shall  be  very  contented  to  do  this,  if  Congress 
should  desire  it.  But  while  other  gentlemen  are  maintaining 
and  educating  large  families  here,  and  enjoying  the  exquisite 
felicity  of  their  company  at  the  same  time,  perhaps  Congress 
may  think  it  proper  to  allow  this  article  to  us  as  well  as  to 
them ;  and  I.  am  sure  I  do  not  desire  it,  nor  would  I  choose  to 
accept  it,  if  it  was  not  allowed  to  others,  although,  perhaps,  the 


duties,  labours,  and  anxieties  of  our  station  may  be  greater 
than  those  of  others. 

"I  am  sir,  your  inmate  and  most  obedient  servant. 


Franklin's  total  expenses  in  France  appear  to  have  been 
about  $15,000  a  year.  Arthur  Lee  learned  from  the  banker's 
books  that  Deane  received  on  his  private  account  from  De- 
cember, 1776,  to  March,  1778,  $20,926;  and  that  in  the 
same  fifteen  months  Lee  drew  $12,749,  and  Franklin  $12,214. 1 

Congress  passed  the  following  resolution,  August  6,  1779: 

"Resolved,  That  an  allowance  of  eleven  thousand  four  hun- 
dred and  twenty-eight  Livres  Tournois  per  Annum,  be  made 
to  the  several  Commissioners  of  the  United  States  hi  Europe 
for  their  services,  besides  their  reasonable  expenses  respec- 
tively. That  the  Salary,  as  well  as  the  Expenses,  be  com- 
puted from  the  Time  of  their  leaving  their  places  of  abode 
to  enter  on  the  duties  of  their  offices,  and  be  continued  three 
months  after  Notice  of  their  Recall,  to  enable  them  to  return 
to  their  families  respectively." 

Franklin's  associates  were  more  in  the  nature  of  hindrances 
than  helps.  The  bigoted  and  egotistical  Ralph  Izard  was 
sent  to  Tuscany,  the  haughty  and  insolent  Arthur  Lee  to 
Spain,  John  Adams  to  Holland,  and  Dana  to  Russia;  but 
they  never  really  reached  or  influenced  the  courts  to  which 
they  were  accredited,  nor  did  they  receive  any  favourable 
replies  to  their  reiterated  petitions.  Among  themselves  they 

1  Jefferson  could  not  afford  to  keep  a  riding  horse :  "  Be  assured,"  he  once 
said,  "  we  are  the  lowest  and  most  obscure  of  the  whole  diplomatic  tribe." 
Vergennes  told  Noailles  that  Franklin's  style  of  living  was  "  modest." 


were  devoured  by  envy  and  anger.  They  plotted  against 
each  other  and  cherished  feelings  of  jealousy  and  malice. 
Silas  Deane  fell  into  disfavour  with  Congress  and  was  re- 
called. Franklin  looked  leniently  upon  his  alleged  tres- 
passes. He  had  himself  been  so  beset  and  pestered  by  army 
officers  ambitious  of  commanding  positions  in  the  American 
forces  that  he  was  ready  to  condone  Deane's  indiscretions  in 
employing  and  recommending  foreign  soldiers.  When  sum- 
moned home  (December  8,  1777),  Deane  enjoyed  the  confi- 
dence of  Franklin  and  Vergennes,  but  Arthur  Lee  declared 
that  he  had  put  into  his  purse  £60,000  sterling  while  he  was 
in  Paris.  Other  letters  Lee  wrote  full  of  charges  and  insinua- 
tions against  the  loyalty  and  moral  character  of  his  colleagues. 
He  characterized  Bancroft  as  "a  notorious  stock  jobber,  living 
hi  defiance  of  religion  and  decency ;  a  friend  of  Deane  who  has 
just  published  a  most  false  and  scandalous  libel  in  New 
York  Gazette  and  Courrier  de  FEurope."  Always  envious 
and  suspicious,  Lee  was  restless  and  irritable  under  the  supe- 
rior eminence  of  Franklin,  and  altogether  unwilling  to  admit 
the  authority  of  either  Franklin  or  Deane.  He  had  been 
appointed  a  Commissioner  to  France  (October  22,  1776) 
in  the  place  of  Jefferson  when  the  latter  had  declined  the 
appointment.  He  had  ineffectually  sought  aid  from  Spain 
and  Prussia.  He  was  jealous  of  Deane's  control  of  the  ac- 
counts and  of  his  intimacy  with  Beaumarchais,  whom  Lee 
had  met  in  London  when  he  was  a  companion  of  the  Wilkes 
set.  Lee's  egotistic  and  suspicious  nature  caused  him  at  times 
to  act  like  an  insane  person.  There  can  be  little  doubt  that 
his  mental  obsessions  disqualified  him  for  rational  judgment 
and  conduct.  He  was  possessed  by  the  belief  that  the 
friends  of  Deane  were  plotting  to  destroy  his  reputation  and  to 

VOL.  X  —  Y 


traduce  his  character.  He  believed  that  his  colleagues  were 
withholding  official  information  from  him,  and  were  secretly 
engaged  in  intrigues  to  malign  him  in  European  newspapers 
and  to  misrepresent  him  in  letters  to  America.  He  wearied 
Franklin  with  constant  communications  that  obstructed  public 
business,  and  wrote  to  Congress  urging  the  recall  of  Franklin, 
and  his  own  promotion  to  his  place  hi  France.  "I  have 
within  this  year,"  he  wrote  to  Samuel  Adams,  "been  at  the 
several  courts  of  Spain,  Vienna,  and  Berlin,  and  I  find  this  of 
France  the  great  wheel  that  moves  them  all.  Here  therefore 
the  most  activity  is  requisite  and  if  it  should  ever  be  a  question 
hi  Congress  about  my  destination  I  should  be  much  obliged 
to  you  for  remembering  that  I  should  prefer  being  at  the  court 
of  France."  He  recommended  that  Franklin  should  be  sent 
to  Vienna  because  that  court  was  most  respectable  and 
quiet ! 

He  wrote  to  his  brother:  "Things  go  on  worse  and  worse 
every  day  among  ourselves  and  my  situation  is  more  painful. 
I  see  in  every  department  neglect,  dissipation,  and  private 
schemes.  Being  hi  trust  here,  I  am  responsible  for  what  I 
cannot  prevent,  and  these  very  men  will  probably  be  the  instru- 
ments of  having  me  called  to  account  one  day  for  their  mis- 
deeds. There  is  but  one  way  of  redressing  this  and  remedying 
the  public  evil,  that  is  the  plan  I  before  sent  you,  of  appoint- 
ing the  doctor,  honoris  causa  to  Vienna,  Mr.  Deane  to  Hol- 
land, Mr.  Jennings  to  Madrid,  and  leaving  me  here.  In 
that  case  I  should  have  it  in  my  power  to  call  those  to  an 
account  through  whose  hands  I  know  the  public  money  has 
passed,  and  which  will  either  never  be  accounted  for,  or 
misaccounted  for  by  connivance  of  those  who  are  to  share  in 
the  public  plunder." 


The  dispute  between  Deane  and  Lee  had  its  origin  in  the 
jealousy  of  the  Southern  and  Eastern  spirit,  and  this  ancient 
antagonism  had  been  heightened  by  a  bitter  personal  quarrel. 
Their  dislike  and  contempt  for  each  other  were  beyond  all 
reconciliation.  By  means  of  letters  from  France  the  fierce 
feud  was  extended  to  America,  and  the  partisans  of  Lee  and 
the  friends  of  Deane  engaged  in  bitter  factional  warfare. 
"Nothing  short  of  the  Ruin  of  the  Reputation  of  Arthur 
Lee,"  wrote  James  Lovell  to  Franklin,  "will  glut  the  Malice 
of  a  party  formed  against  him  by  that  Spirit  of  assassinating 
Innuendo  which  so  eminently  governs  his  Arch  enemy."  1 

Nothing  testifies  more  strongly  to  the  sane  and  calm 
philosophy  of  life  that  Franklin  held  and  practised  than  the 
imperturbable  way  in  which  he  discharged  his  duties  amid 
the  jarring  interests  and  malicious  slander  of  his  associates. 
If  ever  an  enterprise  seemed  foredoomed  to  failure  it  was  the 
American  cause  in  Europe.  Greed,  treachery,  and  jealousy 
marked  its  course.  Deane  detested  Lee,  Izard  and  Lee  hated 
Franklin.  Adams,  unyieldingly  honest,  and  almost  fanati- 
cally patriotic,  was  at  times  egotistically  mad.2  Carmichael 
was  feeding  a  company  of  spies  at  his  Paris  table;  and  at 
Nantes  and  at  Havre,  bankers  and  merchants  were  contend- 
ing for  the  spoils  of  prize  ships.  Lord  North  declared  that 
Franklin  was  the  only  man  in  France  whose  hands  were  not 
stained  with  stock  jobbery.  Stephen  Sayre,  who  made 
infinite  protestations  of  patriotism,  was  constantly  impor- 
tuning Franklin  for  lucrative  offices,  and  while  professing  his 
eternal  regard  for  him,  wrote  at  the  same  time  to  Capellen  a 

i  April  29,  1779. 

8  Franklin  characterized  him  as  "  always  an  honest  man,  sometimes  a  great 
man,  and  sometimes  positively  mad." 


venomous  letter  in  which  Franklin  was  stigmatized  as  a 
"great  villain."  The  letter  is  so  characteristic  of  the  kind 
of  slander  that  was  current  upon  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic 
that  I  quote  it  in  full. 

"Amsterdam,  Dec.  14,  1779 

"I  have  ever  had  a  favourable  opinion  of  that  man  [Frank- 
lin], I  mean  at  Passy,  except  on  one  or  two  former  occasions, 
which  I  had  pardon'd,  as  a  compliment  to  his  virtues.  I 
wish  it  had  been  in  my  power,  for  I  have  no  personal  preju- 
dices to  shut  my  eyes  against  some  later  transactions,  for  it 
shakes  my  confidence,  &  hurts  my  feelings  more  than  any- 
thing else. 

"  The  field  is  so  large,  a  volume  would  not  explain  all.  But 
what  opinion  could  you  hold  of  any  man,  let  his  reputation  be 
ever  so  well  established,  that  would  deliberately  pass  the  ac- 
counts of  an  agent,  employ'd  by  himself,  &  now  his  devoted 
servant,  when  this  very  agent  has  been  detected  in  purchas- 
ing bad  arms  for  the  Americans  in  1776  &  1777  such  as  were 
fit  only  for  that  infamous  trade  of  America.  They  had  been 
condemn'd,  above  12  years  since,  as  unfil  for  service.  This 
very  Agent  wrote  so  to  a  Gentleman  who  now  holds  his  letter. 
He  wrote  also,  that  they  were  not  worth  above  three  livres  each. 
They  were  however  bought  by  this  very  agent,  and  charged  to 
the  public  account  at  twenty-three  livres.  —  He  has  had  the 
money,  &  they  were  sent  to  America  to  defend  the  most 
glorious  cause  the  sun  ever  saw  —  the  unhappy  men  who 
used  them,  had  hearts  but  no  arms  &  of  course  were 

"  The  French  Officers  in  America  who  saw  and  knew  the 
arms,  will  tell  you  the  story  now,  with  tears  in  their  eyes. 


This  man  however  is,  more  than  ever,  now  patronized  by  the 
great  villain,  who  is  his  uncle."  l 

John  Adams  toiled  amid  heart-breaking  discouragements 
to  negotiate  loans  in  Holland.  Some  of  the  business  houses  of 
that  country  were  disposed  to  oblige  America,  others  were 
partisans  of  England.  John  de  Neufville  &  Son,  Hendr 
Steenbergen,  de  la  Lande  and  Fynje,  and  Horneca  Fizeau 
&  Co.  were  friendly  to  America;  Hope  &  Co.,  Richard 
Wilkinson,  Ten  Broeck  &  Co.,  and  Van  der  Pol  were  closely 
allied  with  English  interests.  One  of  the  earliest  Dutch 
sympathizers  with  America  was  Joan  Derek  van  der  Capellen. 
He  wrote  twice  to  Franklin,  and  receiving  no  reply,  asked  Dr. 
Price  to  introduce  him.  Price  replied:  "You  intimate  that 
you  would  be  glad  to  be  introduced  to  an  acquaintance  with 
Dr.  Franklin.  I  wish  I  could  oblige  you  hi  this,  but  it  is 
scarcely  in  my  power.  While  in  England  he  was  one  of  my 
most  intimate  friends,  but  from  mutual  regard  we  have  since 
avoided  writing  to  one  another." 

Under  the  name  of  Hortalez  &  Co.,  Caron  de  Beaumar- 
chais  directed  the  business  of  America  in  France.  The  affair 
of  the  Amphitrite,  a  ship  owned  by  Beaumarchais,  was  the 
first  to  convince  Great  Britain  of  the  encouragement  that 
France  was  giving  to  the  Americans. 

Silas  Deane,  pressed  by  Beaumarchais  and  Vergennes, 
recommended  a  French  officer,  Du  Coudray,  to  Congress  as  a 
military  leader  of  great  experience.  With  a  letter  of  intro- 
duction from  Franklin  and  Deane,  and  a  commission  as 

1  See  "  Brieven  van  en  aan  Joan  Derek  van  der  Capellen  van  de  Poll, 
uitgegeven  door  Mr.  W.  H.  De  Beaufort."  Utrecht,  Kemink  &  Zoon,  1879 
(p.  162).  This  book  contains  the  correspondence  of  Capellen  with  Americans, 
and  much  information  concerning  American  business  transactions  in  Europe. 


general  of  artillery  granted  by  Deane,  he  sailed  upon  Beau- 
marchais'  vessel,  Amphitrite.  The  assumed  name  of  Durand 
was  a  thin  disguise  for  a  man  so  widely  known  as  Caron 
Beaumarchais.  He  wrote  extravagant  letters  to  the  Com- 
mittee of  Correspondence,  hurried  to  French  seaports,  engaged 
vessels  to  transport  merchandise  and  military  stores  to  Amer- 
ica, paying  two-thirds  of  the  freight  hi  advance  and  finding 
security  for  the  remainder.  He  loaded  vessels  in  the  secrecy 
of  night  after  being  forbidden  by  the  government  to  engage  in 
such  illegal  operations.  To  quote  his  own  words :  "  If  govern- 
ment caused  my  vessels  to  be  unloaded  in  one  port  I  sent  them 
secretly  to  reload  at  a  distance  in  the  roads.  Were  they 
stopped  under  their  proper  names  I  changed  them  imme- 
diately or  made  pretended  sales,  and  put  them  anew  under 
fictitious  commissions.  Were  obligations  hi  writing  exacted 
from  my  Captains  to  go  nowhere  but  to  the  West  India  Isl- 
ands, powerful  gratifications  on  my  part  made  them  yield 
again  to  my  wishes.  Were  they  sent  to  prison  on  their  return 
for  disobedience,  I  then  doubled  their  gratifications  to  keep 
their  zeal  from  cooling,  and  consoled  them  with  gold  for  the 
rigour  of  our  government.  Voyages,  messengers,  agents, 
presents,  rewards,  —  no  expense  was  spared.  One  time,  by 
reason  of  an  unexpected  counter  order,  which  stopped  the 
departure  of  one  of  my  vessels,  I  hurried  by  land  to  Havre 
twenty-one  pieces  of  cannon,  which,  if  they  had  come  from 
Paris  by  water,  would  have  retarded  us  ten  days."  l 

Maurepas,  the  Prime  Minister,  was  a  frivolous  character 
who  was  amused  by  the  wit  and  good  humour  of  Beaumar- 

1  The  capital  which  Beaumarchais  employed  was  the  million  from  the 
French  treasury  in  June,  1776  ;  the  million  from  Spain,  September,  1776;  and 
another  million  from  France  in  1777. 


chais.  He  influenced  De  Vergennes  to  allow  Beaumarchais 
a  free  hand,  and  the  latter  succeeded  in  despatching  the 
Amphitrite.  When  the  vessel  returned  in  three  weeks  by 
orders  of  Du  Coudray  who  was  dissatisfied  with  his  quarters, 
Beaumarchais  in  wrath  turned  the  General  of  Artillery  out 
of  the  ship  and  succeeded  again  in  gaining  the  assent  of  the 
ministers  to  the  second  sailing  of  the  vessel.  Stormont  wrote 
to  Lord  Weymouth  (January  29,  1777) :  "What  has  happened 
with  regard  to  the  Amphitrite  is  a  strong  proof  of  Monsieur 
de  Maurepas'  Unsteadiness  and  Irresolution.  I  have  no 
doubt  that  orders  were  sent  to  Havre  which  would  have 
prevented  her  sailing  at  all  if  they  had  not  arrived  too  late. 
It  was  most  natural  to  infer  from  thence  that  stress  of 
weather  and  other  accidents  having  forced  her  to  put  into 
L'Orient  she  would  be  ordered  to  remain  there.  This  was 
in  contemplation,  but  an  Unwillingness  to  combat  the 
Intrigues  of  the  different  Parties  who  from  various  Causes 
favour  the  Rebels,  or  Apprehension  of  appearing  to  be  dic- 
tated to  by  Great  Britain,  a  Dread  of  Beaumarchais'  Indis- 
cretion, if  he  was  made  desperate,  and  perhaps  a  little  of  that 
paltry  Policy  that  wishes  to  stab  in  the  Dark  made  M.  de 
Maurepas  connive,  at  least,  at  this  second  Departure  of  the 
Amphitrite.  A  Friend  of  M.  de  Maurepas  to  whom  I  was 
talking  upon  the  Subject  dropped  this  unguarded  Expression. 
Mais  que  voulez  vous,  si  peut-etre  on  a  lachd  indiscretement 
quelque  Parole  a  ce  Beaumarchais  on  quelque  Billet  que 
sais  je  moi?  on  est  bien  embarrasse  quand  en  a  eu  affaire  a 
le  parolles  gars."  l 

1  Du  Coudray  sailed  upon  another  ship.  When  he  arrived  in  America, 
the  artillery  service  was  already  arranged,  and  General  Knox  appointed  to 
the  chief  command.  Much  contention  ensued,  many  officers  resigned,  and 




JONATHAN  LOSING  AUSTIN  carried  the  despatches  that 
brought  to  France  the  news  of  the  capture  of  Burgoyne's  army. 
The  excitement  in  Paris  was  immense.  Beaumarchais,  lifted 
from  the  depth  of  despair  and  of  financial  ruin,  drove  in  such 
haste  to  the  city  to  congratulate  Franklin  that  his  glass  coach 
was  overturned,  and  he  was  so  badly  cut  about  the  face  and 
body  by  the  broken  glass  that  he  lay  in  danger  of  his  life. 
Europe  rejoiced  at  the  check  administered  to  England  in 
America.  Paris  rejoiced  as  though  the  victory  had  been  won 
by  French  troops  over  the  enemies  of  France.  There  was 
tumultuous  and  tremendous  joy.1  Three  days  after  Austin 
arrived,  Franklin  drew  up  a  memorial  proposing  a  tripartite 
alliance  of  France,  Spain,  and  America.  De  Vergennes 
promised  an  answer  in  two  days  when  it  should  be  known 
how  well  disposed  he  was  to  serve  the  cause  of  America. 

The  treaties  of  amity  and  commerce  with  his  most  Christian 
Majesty,  and  of  alliance  for  mutual  defence  were  signed 

Deane  was  blamed  for  the  confusion  and  dissension.  Du  Coudray  was 
drowned  in  the  Schuylkill.  The  Amphitrite  returned  with  a  cargo  of  rice 
and  indigo  valued  at  one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  francs,  consigned  not 
to  Hortales  &  Co.,  but  to  Lee,  Deane,  and  Franklin.  Beaumarchais  produced 
his  contract  with  Deane,  plead  with  Franklin  to  save  his  house  from  ruin, 
and  obtained  the  cargo  in  spite  of  the  protests  of  Arthur  Lee. 

1  Burgoinised  became  a  popular  word  in  both  France  and  America. 
Madame  Brillon  used  it  in  her  correspondence,  and  John  Adams,  speaking  of 
the  Elizabethtown  affair,  April  29,  1779,  said,  "It  appears  that  the  English 
were  repulsed  and  lost  the  cattle  and  horses  they  had  taken  and  if  they  had 
not  fled  with  uncommon  dexterity  they  would  have  been  burgoinisses,  a  tech- 
nical term  which  I  hope  the  Academic  will  admit  into  the  language  by  lawful 


by  the  plenipotentiaries  on  both  sides,  February  6,  1778.' 
For  a  few  weeks  the  treaties  were  kept  secret  through  some 
doubt  of  their  ratification  by  Congress.  When  they  were 
publicly  avowed,  the  commissioners  were  received  at  court 
(February  20)  and  established  in  full  diplomatic  relations  with 
the  government  of  France.  Madame  du  Deffand  wrote  to 
Horace  Walpole  (March  22,  1778) :  "Mr.  Franklin  has  been 
presented  to  the  King.  He  was  accompanied  by  some 
twenty  insurgents,  three  or  four  of  whom  wore  a  uniform. 
Franklin  wore  a  dress  of  reddish  brown  velvet,  white  hose, 
his  hair  hanging  loose,  his  spectacles  on  his  nose,  and  a  white 
hat  under  his  arm.  I  do  not  know  what  he  said,  but  the  reply 

1  On  the  last  day  of  1777  one  of  William  Eden's  spies  wrote  to  him  : 
"  Doctor  Franklin  is  all  life  and  full  of  Spirits  —  he  dined  last  week  with 
the  Doctor  of  the  Invalids  at  this  place  —  after  dinner  the  Gen*?  gave  Success 
to  the  American  Arms — and  if  you  please  says  Franklin  we'll  add  —  a  per- 
petual and  everlasting  understanding  between  the  House  of  Bourbon  and 
the  American  Congress  —  this  has  made  much  noise  here  —  &  the  General 
opinion  of  the  people  is  —  that  Alliance  is  absolutely  concluded  between 
this  Court  and  the  Americans  —  for  my  part  I  cannot  say  much  at  present  — 
as  am  just  arrived  —  and  have  hardly  had  time  to  turn  myself — However 
by  next  Courier  expect  a  full  account  of  their  whole  proceeding  as  far  as  I 
can  come  at,  —  I  am  sorry  to  be  the  Messenger  of  bad  news  —  yet  I  am  con- 
fident —  'tis  absolutely  necessary  you  should  have  the  best  and  most  Authen- 
tic Intelligence  —  You  may  depend  on  me  for  every  thing  that  possiable  for  a 
man  to  do  in  my  situation  —  and  shall  exert  myself  more  than  common  (if 
Possiabe)  to  come  at  the  bottom  of  everything  —  Doctor  Franklin  is  a  life 
—  and  does  nothing  but  fly  from  one  part  of  Paris  to  t'other  —  Possiably  his 
course  may  be  Stop'd  Shortly  —  as  I  hope  and  flat[ter]  myself  you'll  have 
some  favourable  Intelligence  from  other  side  the  Atlantic  which  will  Check 
him  and  his  boasting  followers  —  Indeed  tis  highly  necessary  —  as  they  carry 
their  heads  much  above  the  common  Run  —  on  acct :  of  the  disaster  of  Gen1 
Bourgoyne  —  Adieu  ?  D*  Sir  expect  News  in  my  Next  if  any  —  I  have  not 
seen  Ogg  yet  but  hope  to  find  —  the  Needfull  there  —  as  this  Season  of  year 
here  —  is  attended  with  unusual  Expenses  —  which  is  Customary  —  I  am  with 
Respect  —  Your  Hum  Ser* 

"Dec.  31,  1777" 


of  the  king  was  very  gracious,  as  well  towards  the  United 
States  as  towards  Franklin  their  deputy.  He  praised  his 
conduct  and  that  of  all  his  compatriots.  I  do  not  know  what 
title  he  will  have,  but  he  will  go  to  court  every  Tuesday  like 
all  the  rest  of  the  diplomatic  corps." 

Lord  Stormont  was  instructed  to  return  to  England.1  A 
French  fleet  under  the  command  of  Count  d'Estaing  put  to 
sea  in  April.  M.  Ge'rard  sailed  to  America  to  represent  the 
court  of  France.2  Deane  was  recalled  and  replaced  by  John 

While  these  diplomatic  and  naval  manoeuvres  were  in 
progress,  England  made  secret  overtures  of  peace.  James 
Hutton,  an  old  and  honoured  friend  of  Franklin  and  a  worthy 
of  the  Church  of  the  United  Brethren,  David  Hartley,  a  member 
of  Parliament  and  a  son  of  the  philosopher  admired  by 
Coleridge,  Sir  Philip  Gibbes,  William  Pulteney,  and  Dr. 
Fothergill  sounded  Franklin  in  the  hope  of  discovering  some 
basis  of  peace  without  humiliating  England  and  without 
granting  independence. 

Dr.  Fothergill  outlined  to  Franklin  what  he  called  his  Court 
of  Arbitration :  "  In  the  warmth  of  my  affection  for  mankind 
I  could  wish  to  see  engrafted  into  this  League  [of  Nations] 
a  resolution  to  preclude  the  necessity  of  general  wars  —  the 
great  object  of  universal  civilization;  the  institution  of  a 

1  When  Stormont  left  Paris,  he  advertised  a  sale  of  his  household  effects. 
Among  other  things  was  mentioned  a  great  quantity  of  unused  table  linen, 
concerning  which  no  surprise  was  expressed,  for,  said  the  Frenchmen,  he  never 
asked  any  one  to  dine. 

2  Gerard  negotiated  the  first  treaty  of  Alliance,  February  6,  1778.     He 
arrived  in  Philadelphia,  July,  1778,  and  acted  as  minister  for  one  year.     He 
took  final  leave  of  Congress,  September  17,  1779.     He  returned  to  Europe 
on  the  same  vessel  with  John  Jay.     His  successor  was  Count  de  la  Luzerne, 
who  arrived  in  Philadelphia,  September  21,  1779. 


College  of  Justice,  where  the  claims  of  sovereigns  should  be 
weighed  —  an  award  given  —  and  war  only  made  on  him 
who  refused  submission.  No  one  man  in  the  world  has  it  so 
much  in  his  power  as  my  honoured  Friend  to  infuse  the 
thought  into  the  hearts  of  princes,  or  those  who  rule  them  and 
their  affairs." 

Lord  North  speedily  introduced  two  conciliatory  bills  into 
Parliament,  and  in  March,  1778,  Lord  Carlisle,  Richard 
Jackson,  and  William  Eden  were  named  Commissioners  for 
restoring  Peace  and  sailed  from  Portsmouth  for  America  on 
the  Trident  on  the  i6th  of  April.1 

Benjamin  Vaughan  sent  Franklin  the  following  minutes 
taken  memoriter  from  Lord  Shelburne's  speech,  March  6, 
1778.  (A.P.S.) 

"  Not  a  time  to  talk  about  ministers  incon- 
sistency, but  to  explain  our  views. 

"  The  war  must  end,  and  troops  be  with- 
drawn :  but  no  independence  alluded  to ;  for 
when  that  happens  England's  sun  is  set.  — 
We  must  go  back  to  as  much  of  the  con- 
nection as  we  can;  and  have  "one  friend, 
one  enemy,  one  purse,  and  one  superintend- 
ence of  commerce."  The  mutual  checks 

1  Jackson  was  suggested  by  William  Eden  who  characterized  him  as  "  a 
man  of  uncommon  abilities  on  American  matters,  and  well  beloved  in  the 
colonies."  George  III,  however,  wrote  to  Lord  North,  April  i,  1778,  "I  am 
very  clear  he  ought  not  to  be  allowed  to  go."  (Donne,  Vol.  II,  p.  166.) 

Jackson's  sentiments  may  be  gathered  from  the  following  sentence  from  a 
letter  he  addressed  to  William  Eden  (February  28,  1778). 

"The  Commencement  of  the  American  War  always  appeared  to  me  an 
impolitic  measure,  the  continuance  of  it  cannot  be  less  than  Ruin  to  this 
Empire,  &  will  be  an  Object  that  I  cannot  be  near  without  an  Anxiety  that 
will  be  too  much  for  me  to  bear." 


Entered  into  a  his- 
tory of  these  treat- 
ies ;  and  spoke  of 
commercial  treaties 
in  general. 

Had  formerly  plan- 
ned to  leave  them 
to  election  of  the 
people  themselves 
in  projected  new 
settlements ;  as  per- 
sons  could  be 
brought  to  their  bar 
to  prove. 

But  Mr  Grenville 
He  found  difficul- 
ties to  get  fit  coun- 
try gentlemen,  sea 
officers  or  land  of- 
ficers to  accept  of 

would  be  of  mutual  use.  Commercial  treaty 
of  no  avail,  either  to  England  or  France; 
witness  Bacon's  intercursus  magnus  which  in 
ten  years  was  called  intercursus  malus ;  and 
Mr  Methuens  Portugal  treaty — • 

"  To  make  this  go  down  with  congress  we 
must  give  Canada,  Scotia,  the  lakes,  New- 
foundland, Cape  Breton,  The  Floridas,  and 
the  Mississippi,  to  be  governed  by  Congress, 
by  name.  In  congress  there  are  many  honest 
&  sagacious  men.  —  If  we  are  left  with  these 
stations,  they  [the  congress]  will  have  us 
waiting  for  their  dissensions  then  to  interfere ; 
and  we,  on  our  part,  shall  have  extent  enough 
to  swallow  up  our  present  force  —  which 
must  not  occupy  where  it  is.  The  paltry 
governors  and  low  views  of  patronage,  must 
be  given  up:  they  never  were  useful,  never 
could  be  well  assorted.  America  will  have 
the  capital  of  our  merchants ;  and  a  harmless 
king  who  might  save  a  worse  power  being 
looked  for  among  themselves.  And  this 
also  joined  by  a  thousand  uses,  privileges, 
and  ties.  —  And  when  I  made  such  proposals, 
I  would  seek  dignified  language,  and  soften 
all  umbrageousness.  I  know  what  is  to  be 
urged  on  the  other  side,  but  I  would  say  with 
Bacon,  revenge  is  not  infinite,  and  vindictive 
war  goes  not  beyond  the  injury. 

"As  I  assent  heartily  to  the  matter  of  two 
of  the  bills,  and  shall  let  the  other  pass,  I 



Talked  about  a  re- 
jection of  an  article 
in  the  treaty  of 
Utrecht  by  parlia- 
ment, which  IA 
Bolingbroke  had 
presumed  to  treat 
for,  though  relating 
to  an  act  of  parlia- 

must  explain  the  vote.  I  dont  like  the  pre- 
amble &c  &c.  [He  went  into  a  short  dis- 
cussion.] I  shall  when  I  vote  thus,  shew  that 
I  foresee  the  effects. 

"When  France  comes  abreast  with  us  to 
congress,  let  us  suppose  that  they  state  our 
merits  in  columns  side  by  side;  for  it  is 
lawful  to  leam  method  even  from  a  rebel 
(Dr.  Franklin.)  In  one  column  will  come  the 
offers  of  France,  as  we  may  conceive,  fair  and 
large.  In  the  other  will  come  the  bill,  as  we 
see  it  offered  by  the  minister  —  by  the  minis- 
ter who  starved,  who  tomahawked  them,  & 
who  bribed  their  servants  to  cut  their  throats ; 
who  spread  catholic  despotism  along  one 
frontier,  and  plunder  and  prohibition  on  the 
other;  who  violated  governments,  refused 
petitions,  and  broke  faith  &c  &c  &c.  And 
what  hold  has  America  in  our  country?  Is 
it  in  parliament ;  which  echoes  and  changes, 
as  its  leaders  give  the  word  and  change? 
Is  it  in  ministers,  who  are  seen  in  minorities 
even  when  bringing  inquiry  upon  the  enor- 
mity of  the  east  ?  Is  it  in  the  faith  of  minis- 
ters ?  There  are  countries  where  the  word  of 
ministers  would  be  taken;  in  France  and 
Austria,  a  Choiseul  and  a  Kaunitz  have  re- 
fused to  break  theirs  for  a  king ;  and  the  time 
has  come  when  their  kings  have  thanked  them  ? 

"  But  now  to  look  at  home.  We  have  been 
told  we  are  on  the  eve  of  war,  and  yet  not  one 


step  taken  to  prepare.  We  have  just  repro- 
bated our  navy.  And  what  is  the  number 
of  our  allies?  We  have  memorialized  away 
the  attachment  of  Holland ;  we  have  detached 
Portugal ;  and  no  one  knows  our  standing  hi 
Germany;  it  is  no  longer  the  country  of 
independent  Barons ;  it  is  getting  into  7  or  8 
successions,  and  Germany  &  Prussia  swal- 
lowing up  the  few  that  remain.  When  I 
read  of  the  petition  just  voted  by  the  city,  I 
thought  they  might  have  summed  up  their 
intentions  in  the  short  words  of  the  Spanish 
Statesman  in  Bacon  to  Philip.  "For  your 
majesty's  comfort,  you  have  upon  earth  but 
two  enemies ;  one  the  whole  world,  the  other 
your  own  ministers."  Yet  when  I  hear  of 
the  many  millions  assembled  against  us  and 
the  few  for  us,  I  know  what  is  to  be  done  by 
vigor.  When  Scotland  was  still  separated,  I 
remember  the  effect  Clarendon  states  as 
produced  by  one  man's  vigor,  Cromwell, 
upon  Europe.  Ministers  may  injure,  and 
things  be  delayed,  beyond  redemption;  but 
yet  I  say  this ;  that  we  may  not  sink  our  spirit 
along  with  our  hope. 

"When  the  mention  of  independence  comes 
from  ministry,  it  is,  in  vulgar  language,  the 
thief  that  first  robs  and  then  fires  the  house 
in  order  to  cover  his  escape.  If  America  is 
independent,  we  must  demand  of  ministers 
the  blessings  they  have  lost ;  for  they  received 


every  thing  peaceable  and  safe.  I  well  re- 
member the  attorney  and  solicitor  generals 
testified  under  their  hands  the  calm  that  had 
intervened.  It  is  one  cause  of  my  objections 
to  independence,  that  it  will  be  impracticable 
to  avoid  having  rendered  to  us  shocking 
personal  accounts. 

"  (N.B.  Much  extraneous  matter  occurred 
which  is  omitted.  The  Lords  Mansfield, 
Hertford,  Denbigh  &  Lord  Bute's  son  were 
absent.  I  verily  believe  the  believe  was 
meant  to  unite  some  at  home  and  divide 
America.  It  failed  in  the  first,  partly  from 

its  humility  impracticability  or  ;    and 

when  this  was  seen,  it  fell  down  upon  the 
minister,  and  has  become  a  derelict  in  both 
houses.  People  did  not  know  their  part; 
and  had  it  been  balloted  might  have  been 
lost  —  Yet  we  are  really  tired  of  the  war  — 
and  of  the  ministers." 

The  envoys  recommended  Congress  to  appoint  a  single 
plenipotentiary  to  the  court  of  France.  Congress  revoked  the 
commission  by  which  the  United  States  had  been  repre- 
sented, and  on  the  28th  of  October,  1778,  elected  Franklin 
sole  plenipotentiary.1  Lafayette  brought  the  new  commission, 
credentials,  and  instructions,  upon  the  nth  of  February. 
Upon  being  invested  with  his  new  responsibilities,  Franklin 
wrote  to  John  Adams:  "Dr.  Franklin  presents  Compli- 

1  Pennsylvania  was  the  only  state  that  voted  against  Franklin.  The 
adverse  vote  was  the  result  of  the  influence  of  Roberdeau,  whose  chief  argu- 
ment was  the  association  of  William  Temple  Franklin  with  his  grandfather. 


ments  to  Mr.  Adams  and  requests  that  all  the  Public  Papers 
may  be  sent  him  by  the  Bearer.  Dr.  Franklin  will  undertake 
to  keep  them  in  order;  and  will  at  any  time  chearfully  look 
for  and  furnish  Mr.  Adams  with  any  Paper  he  may  have  occa- 
sion for."  Immediately  upon  the  receipt  of  this  note  Mr. 
Adams  put  all  the  public  papers  then  in  his  possession  into 
the  hands  of  W.  T.  Franklin. 
A  similar  letter  was  sent  to  Arthur  Lee,  who  replied  in  very 

different  tone,  — 

Chaillot,  21  February  1779. 

Sir:  —  Your  grandson  delivered  to  me,  between  10  and  12 
o'clock  on  the  igth,  your  letter  dated  the  i8th,  in  which  you 
desire  I  will  send  by  the  bearer  all  the  papers  belonging  to 
this  department. 

I  have  no  papers  belonging  to  the  department  of  Minister 
Plenipotentiary  at  the  Court  of  Versailles.  But  if  you  mean, 
sir,  the  papers  relating  to  the  transactions  of  our  late  joint 
Commission,  I  am  yet  to  learn  and  cannot  conceive  on  what 
reason  or  authority  any  one  of  those  who  were  formerly  in  that 
Commission  can  claim  or  demand  possession  of  all  the  papers 
evidencing  their  transactions,  in  which,  if  they  should  appear 
to  have  been  equally  concerned,  they  are  equally  responsible. 

Of  these  papers  Mr.  Deane,  by  his  own  account,  has  taken 
and  secured  such  as  he  chose.  The  rest,  a  very  few  excepted, 
you  have.  Many  of  these  I  have  never  even  seen,  but  have 
been  favoured  with  copies.  Of  the  few  originals  in  my  pos- 
session there  are,  I  know,  duplicates  of  the  most  part  at  Passy, 
because  it  was  for  that  reason  only  that  I  took  them.  The  rest 
are  necessary  evidence  to  answer  Mr.  Deane's  accusations, 
which  you  know  to  be  most  base  and  false  that  ever  the  malice 
and  wickedness  of  man  invented. 


If  it  were  indeed  agreed  that  all  the  papers  belonging  to  our 
late  Commission  should  be  brought  together,  numbered, 
docketed  and  deposited  where  the  late  Commissioners,  and 
they  only,  might  have  access  to  them,  I  would  very  readily 
contribute  the  few  I  have.  But  on  no  other  terms  can  I 
part  with  them,  and  must  therefore  desire  you  to  command 
me  in  some  other  service. 

Still,  however,  I  am  in  the  judgement  of  Congress,  and  if 
upon  our  mutual  representations,  should  you  think  it  worth 
troubling  them  with  it  they  should  be  of  a  different  opinion, 
I  shall  abide  by  their  decision  and  obey  their  orders. 

I  hope  your  gout  is  better,  and  have  the  honour  to  be,  etc., 


In  addition  to  the  diplomatic  correspondence  of  the 
American  Revolution  and  the  private  correspondence  of  the 
representatives  of  the  United  States  there  remain  a  few  frag- 
ments of  Franklin's  diary  from  which  some  slight  information 
may  be  obtained  of  the  succession  of  events.  Portions  of 
the  diary,  from  December  18,  1780,  to  January  29,  1781; 
and  from  June  26  to  July  27,  1784,  exist  among  the  Franklin 
papers  in  the  Library  of  Congress,  and  are  here  reprinted. 

Dec.  18,  1780.  —  Consented  in  conversation  with  Mr. 
Grand  that  Mr.  Williams,  on  being  put  in  possession  of  the 
policies  of  insurance  of  the  'ship  Marquis  de  Lafayette,  for 
200,000  livres,  should  draw  on  me  for  the  freight  to  that 

Mr.  Chaumont  writes,  pressing  an  advance  of  the  money 
on  security.  Replied  that  if  the  security  was  such  as  the 
Congress  banker  approved  of  I  would  advance  the  sum. 

Heard  that  transports  are  taking  up  here  for  America,  and 

VOL.  X  —  Z 


that  bank-bills  in  England  had  been  counterfeited  to  a  great 


Dec.  igth.  —  Went  to  Versailles  at  M.  Vergennes ;  much 
was  said  to  me  in  favour  of  M.  de  Chaumont's  demand.  It 
was  owned  that  he  had  been  wrong  in  demanding  as  a  right 
what  he  ought  to  have  asked  as  a  favour;  but  that  affairs 
among  friends  should  not  be  transacted  with  rigour,  but 
amicably  and  with  indulgent  allowances.  I  found  I  had  been 
represented  as  unkindly  exact  in  the  business.  I  promised  to 
do  all  in  my  power  to  make  it  easy  to  M.  Chaumont.  He 
came  to  me  in  the  evening  after  my  return,  but  with  much 
heat  against  Mr.  Grand,  which  I  endeavoured  to  allay,  as 
it  was  really  very  unjust.  Offered  him  to  accept  his  bills 
drawn  on  me,  as  the  operation  through  Mr.  Williams  at 
Nantes  would  take  too  much  time  to  suit  with  his  exigencies. 
He  said  he  would  consult  with  his  banker.  Exclaimed  much 
against  the  judgement  at  Nantes,  etc. 

Requested  Mr.  Grand  to  transfer  out  of  the  public  cash 
the  amount  of  the  several  balancies  of  my  private  accounts 
with  the  Congress,  and  give  me  credit  for  the  same  in  my 
particular  account. 

Dec.  20th.  —  Certified,  or,  as  they  call  it  here,  legalized, 
the  papers  relative  to  the  taking  a  Portuguese  ship  by  the 
Mars  of  Boston,  and  sent  them  to  the  Porto'  ambass. 

Accepted  M.  de  Chaumont's  drafts  dated  November  10  for 
the  200,000  livres  freight  at  4  usuances,  and  he  gave  me  his 
engagement  to  return  the  money  in  case  the  ship  Marquis  de 
Lafayette  did  not  arrive  at  L'Orient  to  take  in  our  goods. 
Prince  de  Montbarey,  Ministre  de  la  Guerre,  resigns.  His 
successor  not  yet  known. 

Dec.  2ist.  —  Wrote  to  M.  de  Chaumont  pressingly  for  his 


account  with  the  Congress,  that  it  may  be  settled  now  Mr. 
Deane  is  here. 

M.  de  Segur  succeeds  the  Prince  de  Montbarey. 

Dec.  22d.  —  Received  an  account  between  Mr.  Chaumont 
and  Mr.  Deane,  which  includes  Congress  artic  [mutilated]; 
copy  it,  as  it  must  be  sent  to  Mr.  Deane. 

Dec.  2^d.  —  Hear  by  letters  from  L'Orient  of  the  depart- 
ure of  Capt.  Jones  in  the  Ariel  on  the  i8th. 

Dec.  24th.  —  Received  Gourlade  and  Moylan's  account  of 
fresh  expenses,  upwards  of  £20,000,  by  Capt.  Jones. 

Two  young  Englishmen,  Scot  and  Williams,  would  go  to 
America;  discouraged  them. 

Dec.  2$th.  —  Gave  an  order  to  Mr.  Grand  to  remit  150 
sterling  to  Mr.  Wm.  Hodgson,  London,  for  the  relief  of 
American  prisoners. 

Received  information  from  a  good  hand  that  the  G. 
Pensionaire  had  been  with  Sir  J.  Y.,  and  acquainted  him 
that  an  answer  would  be  given  to  his  memorials,  but  that  it 
could  not  be  precipitated  contrary  to  the  constitution;  it 
was  necessary  to  have  the  advice  of  the  provinces. 

The  S.  H.  has  behaved  well  hi  the  resolution  for  arming. 

The  Duke  A.  G.  C.,  the  Pensionary  of  Amsterdam,  a 
brave,  steady  man. 

Dec.  26th.  —  Went  to  Versailles  to  assist  at  the  ceremony 
of  condolence  on  the  death  of  the  Empress  Queen.  All  the 
foreign  ministers  in  deep  mourning,  —  flopped  hats  and 
crape,  long  black  cloaks,  etc.  The  Nuncio  pronounced  the 
compliments  to  the  king  and  afterwards  to  the  queen  in  her 
apartments.  M.  de  Vergennes  told  me  of  the  war  declared 
by  England  against  Holland.  Visited  at  the  new  Ministers 
of  War  and  Marine;  neither  of  them  at  home.  Much  fa- 


tigued  by  the  going  twice  up  and  down  the  palace  stairs, 
from  the  tenderness  of  my  feet  and  weakness  of  my  knees ; 
therefore  did  not  go  the  rounds.  Declined  dining  with  M. 
de  Vergennes,  as  inconsistent  with  my  present  mode  of 
living,  which  is  simple,  till  I  have  recovered  my  strength. 
Took  a  partridge  with  M.  de  Chaumont.  No  news  yet  of 
Count  d'Estaing. 

Wednesday,  2jth.  —  Much  talk  about  the  new  war.  Hear 
of  the  hurricane  hi  the  West  Indies.  English  fleet  under 
Admiral  Darby  put  into  port.  Wrote  to  J.  Williams,  at 
Nantes,  to  send  advice  to  America  by  every  possible  oppor- 
tunity of  the  English  declaration  against  Holland. 

Thursday,  28th.  —  Mr.  Grand  has  some  time  since  carried 
an  advance  of  my  salary  for  one  quarter  (£15,000)  out  of 
the  public  monies,  to  my  private  account;  and  I  afterwards 
gave  him  a  receipt  for  that  sum,  which  should  have  been 
mentioned  before. 

Friday,  2gth.  —  Went  by  particular  invitation  to  the  Sor- 
bonne,  to  an  assembly  of  the  Faculty  of  Physic  in  the  College 
Hall,  where  we  had  the  eloge  of  my  friend  M.  Dubourg  and 
other  pieces.  Suffered  by  the  cold. 

M.  de  Chaumont  has  [mutilated]  J.  Williams'  draft  on  me 
for  £428,000  on  account  of  the  cloth,  but  declined  .  .  .  why 
[?  I  know  not  why]  presenting  it.  I  ought  to  give  him.  .  .  . 
[line  here  mutilated,  the  only  words  legible  are  "  Congress," 
"above,"  or  "about,"  and  "livres."] 

Saturday,  $oth.  —  Breakfasted  at  Mad.  Brillon's.  Re- 
ceived of  Mr.  Grand  £4,800  on  private  account,  which  was 
put  into  the  hands  of  W.  T.  Franklin  to  pay  bills  and  family 

Sunday    ?   31^.  —  Much    company   at   dinner;     among 


others,  M.  Perrier  and  M.  Wilkinson,  ingenious  mechani- 
cians. M.  Romayne,  of  Hackinsack,  in  the  Jerseys.  No 

Monday,  Jan.  i,  1781.  —  News  that  an  expedition  is  on 
foot  against  Jersey  and  Guernsey,  some  frigates  with  trans- 
ports and  2,500  men  having  sailed  from  Granville  the  26th 

Mr.  Dana  is  returned  from  Holland,  which  he  left  the  be- 
ginning of  last  month.  Mr.  Adams  remains  there,  who  writes 
me  December  ist  that  there  is  little  or  no  hopes  of  a  loan. 

Tuesday,  Jan.  zd.  —  Went  to  Versailles.  No  foreign 
ministers  there  but  one  or  two;  the  rest  having  been  there 
yesterday.  Visited  the  new  Secretary  at  War,  who  was  very 
polite.  Wrote  to  M.  de  Castries,  Minister  of  the  Marine. 
Not  strong  enough  to  go  up  to  M.  de  Maurepas.  Visited 
M.  Le  Roy  and  dined  with  M.  and  Mad.  de  Renneval. 
News  of  disappointment  of  Jersey  expedition.  Wind  and 
tide  contrary  [mutilated,  the  word  "Etres"  only  visible]  the 
offices  in  part. 

Wednesday,  Jan.  $d.  —  Letters  from  Holland.  The  Dutch 
seem  not  to  have  known  on  the  28th  past  that  war  was 
actually  declared  against  them.  Informed  here  that  the 
English  court  has  sent  copies  of  the  papers  taken  with  Mr. 
Laurens  to  the  northern  courts,  with  aggravated  complaints 
against  the  States- General ;  and  that  the  States  had  also 
sent  their  justification.  Important  news  expected  by  the  re- 
turn of  the  courier. 

Thursday,  Jan.  4th.  —  Learnt  that  the  states  had  given 
orders  for  building  100  ships  of  war.  Gave  an  order  on  Mr. 
Grand  [mutilated;  qr.  "for"]  paying  Sabbatier's  balance, 
the  sum  £3,526  18  6  being  for  carriage  of  the  clothing. 


Friday,  Jan.  $th.  —  Signed  recommendation,  to  the  minis- 
ters, of  M.  de  La  Neuville,  officer  formerly  in  the  American 

Saturday,  Jan.  6th.  —  Accepted  a  number  of  loan-office 
bills  this  day  and  every  day  of  the  past  week.  No  news  yet 
of  Count  D'Estaing,  which  begins  to  give  great  uneasiness, 
as  his  fleet  was  not  provided  for  so  long  a  voyage. 

Sunday,  Jan.  'jth.  —  News  of  the  safe  arrival  of  Count 
D'Estaing  at  Brest ;  more  accounts  of  the  terrible  hurricane 
in  the  West  Indies.  Accepted  a  vast  number  of  loan-office 
bills.  Some  of  the  new  drafts  begin  to  appear. 

Monday,  Jan.  8th.  —  Accepted  many  bills.  Hear  from 
Holland  that  they  had  but  just  received  news  of  the  declara- 
tion of  war  against  them ;  and  that  the  English  church  was 
burnt  at  the  Hague,  unknown  by  what  means. 

Tuesday,  gth.  —  Count  D'Estaing  arrives  at  Passy.  Hear 
of  ships  arrived  at  L'Orient  from  America.  No  letters  come 
up.  Indisposed  and  did  not  go  to  court. 

Wednesday,  loth.  —  Letters  arrived  from  Philadelphia. 
Reports  there  of  advantages  gained  to  the  southward;  and 
that  Leslie  had  quitted  Virginia.  Informed  that  my  recall 
is  to  be  moved  for  in  Congress.  News  that  the  troops  have 
made  good  their  landing  hi  Jersey  and  taken  all  but  the 

Thursday,  nth.  —  Gave  Mr.  Dana  copies  of  the  letters 
between  M.  de  Sartine  and  me  concerning  Mr.  Dalton's 
affair.  Proposed  to  him  to  examine  the  public  accounts 
now  while  Mr.  Deane  was  here,  which  he  declined. 

Friday,  i2th.  —  Sign  acceptation  [qu.  "of";  mutilated] 
many  bills.  They  come  thick. 

Saturday,  Jan.  itfh.  —  Learn  that  there  is  a  violent  com- 


motion  in  Holknd ;  that  the  people  are  violently  exasperated 
against  the  English ;  have  thrown  some  into  the  canals ;  and 
those  merchants  of  Amsterdam  who  have  been  known  to 
favour  them,  dare  not  appear  in  the  streets ;  that  the  return 
of  their  express  to  Russia  brings  good  accounts  of  the  favour- 
able disposition  of  the  Empress. 

Sunday,  Jan.  14^.  —  Mr.  Grand  acquaints  me  that  he 
learns  from  Mr.  Cotin,  banker  of  M.  de  Chaumont,  that 
the  Marquis  de  Lafayette  will  be  stopped  by  creditors  of  M. 
de  Chaumont  unless  50,000  crowns  are  advanced,  and  sub- 
mitted it  to  my  consideration  whether  I  had  not  better  buy 
the  ship. 

Vexed  with  the  long  delay  on  so  many  frivolous  pretences, 
and  seeing  no  end  to  them,  and  fearing  to  embarrass  myself 
still  further  in  affairs  that  I  do  not  understand,  I  took  at  once 
the  resolution  of  offering  our  contract  for  that  ship  to  the 
government,  to  whom  I  hoped  it  might  be  agreeable  to  have 
her  as  a  transport,  as  our  goods  would  not  fill  her,  she  being 
gauged  at  1,200  tons.  Accordingly  I  requested  Mr.  Grand 
to  go  to  Versailles  and  to  propose  it  to  M.  de  Vergennes. 

Monday,  Jan.  i$th.  —  Signed  an  authority  to  Mr.  Bon- 
field  to  administer  [mutilated]  oath  of  allegiance  to  the 
United  States  to  Mr.  Vaughan. 

Accepted  above  200  bills,  some  of  the  new. 

Mr.  Grand  calls  on  his  return  from  Versailles,  and  ac- 
quaints me  that  Mr.  Vergennes  desires  the  proposition  may 
be  reduced  to  writing.  Mr.  Grand  has  accordingly  made  a 
draft,  which  he  presented  for  my  approbation. 

Tuesday,  Jan.  i6th.  —  Went  to  Versailles  and  performed 
all  the  ceremonies,  though  with  difficulty,  my  feet  being  still 


Left  the  pacquets  for  Mr.  Jay  with  M.  de  Renneval,  who 
promised  to  send  them  with  the  next  courier. 

Presented  Mr.  Grand's  paper  to  M.  de  Vergennes,  who 
told  me  he  would  try  to  arrange  that  matter  for  me.  I  ac- 
quainted M.  de  Chaumont  with  [mutilated] step  [qu.  "with 
the  step,"]  who  did  not  seem  to  approve  of  it. 

Heard  of  the  ill  success  of  the  troops  in  Jersey,  who  were 
defeated  the  same  day  they  landed :  150  killed,  200  wounded, 
and  the  rest  taken  prisoners. 

Wednesday,  Jan.  ifth. —  Accepted  many  bills  and  wrote 
some  letters. 

Thursday,  Jan.  i8th.  —  Mr.  Grand  informs  me  that  he 
has  been  at  Versailles  and  spoken  with  M.  de  Vergennes 
and  M.  de  Renneval ;  that  the  minister  declined  the  propo- 
sition of  taking  the  vessel  on  account  of  the  government, 
but  kindly  offered  to  advance  me  the  ^150,000  if  I  chose  to 
pay  that  sum.  He  brought  me  also  the  project  of  an  engage- 
ment drawn  up  by  Mr.  Cotin,  by  which  I  was  to  promise 
that  payment,  and  he  and  Co.  were  to  permit  the  vessel  to 
depart.  He  left  this  paper  for  my  consideration. 

Friday,  Jan.  igth.  —  Considering  this  demand  of  Messrs. 
Cotin  and  Jauge  as  an  imposition,  I  determined  not  to  submit 
to  it,  and  wrote  my  reasons. 

Relieved  an  American  captain  with  five  guineas  to  help 
him  to  L'Orient. 

Saturday,  Jan.  2oth.  —  Gave  a  pass  to  a  Bristol  merchant 
to  go  to  Spain.  He  was  recommended  to  me  as  having 
been  a  great  friend  to  American  prisoners.  His  name 
[nothing  has  been  written  here  apparently]. 

Sunday,  Jan.  2ist.  —  Mr.  Jauge  comes  to  talk  with  me 
about  the  ship,  and  intimated  that  if  I  refused  to  advance 


the  ;£i  50,000  I  should  not  only  be  deprived  of  the  ship,  but 
lose  the  freight  I  had  advanced.  I  absolutely  refused  to 

Monday,  Jan.  22d.  —  Mr.  Grand  informs  me  that  Mr. 
Williams  has  drawn  on  me  for  25,000  livres  to  enable  him 
to  pay  returned  acceptances  of  M.  de  Chaumont.  I  ordered 
payment  of  his  drafts.  Received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Williams 
and  wrote  an  answer,  which  letters  explained  this  affair. 

Letter  from  M.  de  Chaumont  informing  me  he  had  re- 
ceived remittances  from  America.  I  congratulated  him. 

Tuesday,  Jan.  2$d.  —  Went  to  court  and  performed  all 
the  round  of  levees,  though  with  much  pain  and  difficulty, 
through  the  tenderness  and  feebleness  of  my  feet  and  knees. 
M.  Vergennes  is  ill  and  unable  to  hold  long  conferences.  I 
dined  there  and  had  some  conversation  with  M.  Renneval, 
who  told  me  I  had  misunderstood  the  proposition  of  ad- 
vancing the  150,000  livres,  or  it  had  not  been  rightly  repre- 
sented to  me;  that  it  was  not  expected  of  me  to  advance 
more  for  M.  de  Chaumont;  that  the  advance  was  to  have 
been  made  by  M.  de  Vergennes,  etc.  I  see  clearly,  however, 
that  the  paper  offered  me  to  sign  by  Messrs.  Cotin  &  Co., 
would  have  engaged  me  to  be  accountable  for  it.  Had  some 
conference  with  the  Nuncio,  who  seemed  inclined  to  en- 
courage American  vessels  to  come  to  the  ecclesiastical  state, 
acquainting  me  they  had  two  good  ports  to  receive  us,  Civita 
Vecchia  and  Ancona,  where  there  was  a  good  deal  of  busi- 
ness done,  and  we  should  find  good  vente  for  our  fish,  etc. 
Hear  I  [no  words  legible]. 

Wednesday,  Jan.  2$th.  —  A  great  number  of  bills.  Visit 
at  M.  de  Chaumont's  in  the  evening;  found  him  cold  and 
dry.  Received  a  note  from  Mr.  Searle,  acquainting  me  with 


his  [mutilated]  sal  [qu.  dismissal,  or  arrival]  from  Holland  on 
Saturday  last. 

Thursday,  Jan.  2$th.  —  Hear  that  M.  de  Chaumont  pays 
again,  being  enabled  by  his  remittances  [mutilated]  bills. 
Holland  begins  to  move,  and  gives  great  encouragement 
[mutilated]  turning.  M.  de  L'  [mutilated]  comes  to  see  me, 
and  demands  breakfast;  chear  [cheerful?]  and  frank. 
Authorize  Mr.  Grand  to  pay  the  balance  of  Messrs.  Jay's 
and  Carmichael's  salaries,  and  Mr.  Digges's  bill. 

Friday,  Jan.  26th.  —  Went  to  Paris  to  visit  Princess 
Daschkaw;  not  at  home.  Visit  Prince  and  Princess  Mas- 
serano.  He  informs  me  that  he  despatches  a  messenger  [a 
word  or  two  obliterated]  on  Tuesday.  Visit  Duke  de  Roche- 
foucauld and  Madame  la  Duchesse  d'Enville.  Visit  Messrs. 
Dana  and  Searle;  not  at  home.  Leave  invitations  to  dine 
with  me  on  Sunday.  Visit  Comte  d'Estaing;  not  at  home. 
Mr.  Turgot ;  not  at  home.  Accept  bills. 

Saturday,  Jan.  i^th. — Write  to  Madrid,  and  answer  all 
Mr.  Jay's  and  Mr.  Carmichael's  letters  received  during  my 

Sunday,  Jan.  2&th.  —  Mr.  Dana  comes ;  Mr.  Searle  ex- 
cuses himself.  Invite  him  for  Tuesday. 

Monday,  Jan.  2gth.  —  Hear  of  the  arrival  of  the  Duke  of 
Leinster,  with  Mr.  Ross,  at  Philadelphia,  which  gives  me 
great  pleasure,  as  she  had  much  cloth,  etc.,  for  the  Congress. 
Despatched  my  letters  for  Madrid. 

Passy,  June  26th,  1784.  —  Mr.  Walterstorf  called  on  me, 
and  acquainted  me  with  a  Duel  that  had  been  fought  yester- 
day Mor5,  between  a  French  Officer  1  and  a  Swedish  Gentle- 
man of  that  king's  Suite,  in  which  the  latter  was  killed  on 

1  The  Count  de  la  Marck. 


the  Spot,  and  the  other  dangerously  wounded ;  —  that  the 
king  does  not  resent  it,  as  he  thinks  his  Subject  was  in  the 

He  asked  me  if  I  had  seen  the  king  of  Sweden  ?  I  had  not 
yet  had  that  Honor.  He  said  his  Behaviour  here  was  not 
liked;  that  he  took  little  Notice  of  his  own  Ambassador, 
who  being  acquainted  with  the  usages  of  this  court,  was 
capable  of  advising  him,  but  was  not  consulted.  That  he 
was  always  talking  of  himself,  and  vainly  boasting  of  his 
Revolution,  tho'  it  was  known  to  have  been  the  work  of  M. 
de  Vergennes.  That  they  began  to  be  tired  of  him  here, 
and  wish'd  him  gone:  but  he  propos'd  staying  till  the  i2th 
July.  That  he  had  now  laid  aside  his  Project  of  invading 
Norway,  as  he  found  Denmark  had  made  Preparations  to 
receive  him.  That  he  pretended  the  Danes  had  designed  to 
invade  Sweden,  tho'  it  was  a  known  fact,  that  the  Danes  had 
made  no  Military  Preparations,  even  for  Defence,  till  Six 
Months  after  his  began.  I  asked  if  it  was  clear  that  he  had 
had  an  Intention  to  invade  Norway.  He  said  that  the 
marching  and  disposition  of  his  Troops,  and  the  Fortifica- 
tions he  had  erected,  indicated  it  very  plainly.  He  added, 
that  Sweden  was  at  present  greatly  distress'd  for  Provisions ; 
that  many  People  had  actually  died  of  Hunger!  That  it 
was  reported  the  king  came  here  to  borrow  Money,  and  to 
offer  to  sell  Gottenburgh  to  Prance ;  a  thing  not  very  prob- 

M.  Dussaulx  called,  and  said,  it  is  reported  there  is  an 
alliance  treating  between  the  Emperor  of  Austria,  Russia, 
and  England ;  the  Purpose  not  known ;  and  that  a  counter- 
alliance  is  propos'd  between  France,  Prussia,  and  Holland, 
in  which  it  is  suppos'd  Spam  will  join.  He  added  that 


Changes  in  the  Ministry  are  talked  of ;  that  there  are  Cabals 
against  M.  de  Vergennes ;  that  M.  de  Calonne  is  to  be  Garde 
des  Sceaux,  with  some  other  Rumours,  fabricated  perhaps  at 
the  Palais  Royal. 

June  29.  —  Mr.  Hammond,  Secy.  to  Mr.  Hartley,  call'd  to 
tell  me  that  Mr.  Hartley  had  not  received  any  Orders  by  the 
last  Courier,  either  to  stay  or  return,  which  he  had  expected ; 
and  that  he  thought  it  occasioned  by  their  Uncertainty  what 
Terms  of  Commerce  to  propose,  'till  the  Report  of  the  Com- 
mittee of  Council  was  laid  before  Parliament,  and  its  Opinion 
known ;  and  that  he  looked  on  the  Delay  of  writing  to  him  as 
a  sign  of  their  intending  to  do  something. 

He  told  me  it  was  reported  that  the  king  of  Sweden  had 
granted  the  free  use  of  Gottenburg  as  a  Port  for  France, 
which  alarmed  the  neighbouring  Powers.  That  in  time  of 
War,  the  Northern  Coast  of  England  might  be  much  en- 
danger'd  by  it. 

June  3<D/&.  —  M.  Dupont,  Inspector  of  Commerce,  came 
to  talk  with  me  about  the  free  Port  of  L'Orient,  and  some 
Difficulties  respecting  it;  I  referr'd  him  to  Mr.  Barclay,  an 
American  Merchant  and  Com1  for  Accounts;  and  as  he 
said  he  did  not  well  understand  English  when  spoken,  and 
Mr.  Barclay  did  not  speak  French,  I  offer'd  my  Grandson  to 
accompany  him  as  Interpreter,  which  he  accepted. 

I  asked  him  whether  the  Spaniards  from  the  Continent  of 
America  did  not  trade  to  the  French  Sugar  Islands?  He 
said  not.  The  only  Commerce  with  the  Spaniards  was  for 
Cattle  between  them  and  the  French  at  St.  Domingo.  I  had 
been  told  the  Spaniards  brought  Flour  to  the  French  Islands 
from  the  Continent.  He  had  not  heard  of  it.  If  we  can 
find  that  such  a  Trade  is  allow'd  (perhaps  from  the  Miss- 


issippi),  have  not  the  U.  States  a  Claim  by  Treaty  to  the 
same  Privilege? 

July  ist.  —  The  Pope's  Nuncio  called,  and  acquainted  me 
that  the  Pope  had,  on  my  Recommendation,  appointed  Mr. 
John  Carroll,  Superior  of  the  Catholic  Clergy  in  America, 
with  many  of  the  Powers  of  a  Bishop;  and  that  probably 
he  would  be  made  a  Bishop  in  partibus  before  the  End  of 
the  Year.  He  asked  me  which  would  be  most  convenient 
for  him,  to  come  to  France,  or  go  to  St.  Domingo,  for  Ordi- 
nation by  another  Bishop,  which  was  necessary.  I  men- 
tioned Quebec  as  more  convenient  than  either.  He  asked 
whether,  as  that  was  an  English  Province,  our  Government 
might  not  take  Offence  at  his  going  there?  I  thought  not, 
unless  the  Ordination  by  that  Bishop  should  give  him  some 
Authority  over  our  Bishop.  He  said,  not  in  the  least ;  that 
when  our  Bishop  was  once  ordained,  he  would  be  independent 
of  the  others,  and  even  of  the  Pope ;  which  I  did  not  clearly 
understand.  He  said  the  Congregation  de  Propaganda  Fidei 
had  agreed  to  receive,  and  maintain  and  instruct,  two  young 
Americans  in  the  Languages  and  Sciences  at  Rome ;  (he  had 
formerly  told  me  that  more  would  be  educated  gratis  in 
France).  He  told  me,  they  had  written  from  America  that 
there  are  20  Priests,  but  that  they  are  not  sufficient;  as  the 
new  Settlements  near  the  Mississippi  have  need  of  some. 

The  Nuncio  said  we  should  find,  that  the  Catholics  were 
not  so  intolerant  as  they  had  been  represented;  that  the 
Inquisition  in  Rome  had  not  now  so  much  Power  as  that  hi 
Spain;  and  that  in  Spain  it  was  used  chiefly  as  a  Prison  of 
State.  That  the  Congregation  would  have  undertaken  the 
Education  of  more  American  youths,  and  may  hereafter, 
but  that  at  present  they  are  overburthened,  having  some 


from  all  parts  of  the  World :  He  spoke  lightly  of  their  new 
Convert  Thayer's  (of  Boston)  Conversion;  that  he  had 
advised  him  not  to  go  to  America,  but  settle  in  France.  That 
he  wanted  to  go  to  convert  his  Countrymen;  but  he  knew 
nothing  yet  of  his  new  Religion  himself,  &C.1 

Rec*  a  Letter  from  Mr.  Bridgen  of  London,  dated  the  22d 
past,  acquainting  me  that  the  Council  of  the  Royal  Society 
had  voted  me  a  Gold  Medal,  on  ace*  of  my  Letter  in  favor 
of  Capt.  Cook.2  Lord  Howe  had  sent  me  his  Journal,  3  vols. 
4to,  with  a  large  Volume  of  Engravings,  on  the  same  Acct., 
and  as  he  writes  "with  the  King's  Approbation" 

1  See  Vol.  IX,  p.  303. 

2  The  gold  medal  had  been  struck  in  recognition  of  the  aid  given  to  Cap- 
tain Cook  by  the  king  of  England,  and  the  empress  of  Russia.      Sir  Joseph 
Banks,  President  of  the  Royal  Society,  wrote  to  ^Franklin,  August  13,  1784 
(U.  of  P.):  — 


"  Willing  as  much  as  is  in  my  Power  to  Clear  the  R.  Society  &  myself 
from  our  share  of  the  charge  of  Illiberal  treatment  towards  you  with  which  I 
fear  this  Countrey  may  too  justly  be  accusd,  I  take  my  Pen  with  no  small 
Pleasure  to  inform  you  that  I  am  instructed  by  the  Council  of  the  Royal 
Society  to  Present  to  you  in  their  name  the  Gold  medal  they  have  struck  in 
honour  of  Cap1?1  Cook  as  a  testimony  how  truly  they  respect  those  liberal 
sentiments  which  indued  you  when  his  return  to  Europe  was  expected  to 
Issue  your  orders  to  such  American  Cruizers  as  were  then  under  your  direc- 
tion to  abstain  from  molesting  that  great  Circumnavigator  an  act  worthy 
those  sentiments  of  General  Philanthropy  by  which  I  have  observed  your 
Conduct  was  actuated  since  I  have  had  the  honour  of  your  acquaintance  at 
the  same  time  give  me  leave  to  Congratulate  you  on  the  honorable  manner 
in  which  you  received  a  Copy  of  Cap*?  Cooks  voyage  sent  to  you  by  his 
Britanic  Majesties  orders  as  a  testimony  of  his  Royal  approbation  of  the  same 
liberal  Conduct. 

"  As  I  suppose  you  would  wish  to  know  to  whom  you  are  obliged  for  the 
representation  which  induced  his  Majesty  to  send  it  I  can  inform  you  that  it 
was  Ld  Howe,  when  I,  who  by  desire  of  the  admiralty  conducted  the  General 
Business  of  that  Publication  reported  the  names  of  those  to  whom  Presents 
of  the  work  ought  in  my  opinion  to  be  sent  I  did  not  venture  to  insert  your 
name  in  the  List  but  when  Ld  Howe  on  hearing  my  reasons  for  sending  one 


July  3<2.  —  Mr.  Smeathman  comes  and  brings  two  English 
or  Scotch  Gentlemen;  one  a  Chevalier  of  some  Order,  the 
other  a  Physician  who  had  lived  long  in  Russia.  Much 
Conversation.  Putrid  Fevers  common  in  Russia,  and  in 
Winter  much  more  than  in  Summer;  therefore  supposed  to 
be  owing  to  their  hot  Rooms.  In  a  gentleman's  House  there 
are  sometimes  one  hundred  domestics;  these  have  not  beds, 
but  sleep  twenty  or  thirty  in  a  close  room  warmed  by  a 
stove,  lying  on  the  floor  and  on  benches.  The  stoves  are 
heated  by  wood.  As  soon  as  it  is  burnt  to  coals,  the  chimney 
is  stopped  to  prevent  the  escape  of  hot  and  entry  of  cold  air. 
So  they  breathe  the  same  air  over  and  over  again  all  night. 
These  fevers  he  cured  by  wrapping  the  patient  in  linen  wet 
with  vinegar,  and  making  them  breathe  the  vapor  of  vinegar 
thrown  on  hot  bricks.  The  Russians  have  the  art  of  distil- 
ling spirit  from  milk.  To  prepare  it  for  distillation  it  must, 
when  beginning  to  sour,  be  kept  in  continual  motion  or 
agitation  for  twelve  hours ;  it  then  becomes  a  uniform  vinous 
liquor,  the  cream,  curd,  and  aqueous  part  or  whey,  all  ul- 
timately mixed.  Excellent  in  this  state  for  restoring  emaci- 
ated bodies.  This  operation  on  milk  was  discovered  long 
since  by  the  Tartars,  who  in  their  rambling  life  often  carry 
milk  in  leather  bags  on  their  horses,  and  the  motion  pro- 
duced the  effect.  It  may  be  tried  with  us  by  attaching  a 
large  keg  of  milk  to  some  part  of  one  of  our  mills. 

July  6.  —  Directed  W.  T.  F.,  who  goes  to  Court,  to  men- 
tion 3  Things  at  the  Request  of  M.  Barclay.  The  main  levee 

to  his  most  Christian  Majesty  approvd  of  them  in  warm  Terms  I  thought  it 
proper  to  acquaint  him  that  you  had  an  equal  right  to  the  same  compliment 
a  circumstance  of  which  he  was  ignorant  on  which  his  Lordship  of  his  own 
mere  motion  &  without  hesitation  ordered  your  name  to  be  inserted  in  the 
List  &  obtain4  his  Majesties  Royal  assent  with  a  little  difficulty." 


of  the  arrested  Goods,  the  port  of  L' Orient,  and  the  Con- 
sular Convention ;  which  he  did.  The  Port  is  fix'd,  and  the 
Convention  preparing.  Hear  that  Gottenburg  is  to  be  a 
free  Port  for  France,  where  they  may  assemble  Northern 
Stores,  &c. 

Mr.  Hammond  came  and  din'd  with  me.  He  acquaints 
me,  from  Mr.  Hartley,  that  no  Instructions  are  yet  come 
from  England.  Mr.  Hartley  is  lame. 

July  7.  —  A  very'  hot  Day.  Receiv'd  a  Visit  from  the 
Secretary  of  the  King  of  Sweden,  M.  Frank,  accompanied 
by  the  Secretary  of  the  Embassy. 

July  8.  —  M.  Franke  dines  with  me,  in  Company  with 
Mad.  Helv&ius,  Abbe*  de  la  Roche,  M.  Cabanis,  and  an 
American  captain.  The  king  of  Sweden  does  not  go  to 
England.  The  Consul  did  not  come. 

July  loth.  —  Mr.  Grand  came  to  propose  my  dining  with 
the  Swedish  Court  at  his  House,  which  is  next  door,  and  I 
consented.  While  he  was  with  me,  the  consul  came.  We 
talked  about  the  Barbary  powers;  they  are  four,  Morocco, 
Algiers,  Tunis,  and  Tripoli.  He  informed  me  that  Salee, 
the  principal  port  belonging  to  the  Emperor  of  Morocco, 
had  formerly  been  famous  for  corsairs.  That  this  prince  had 
discouraged  them,  and  in  1768  published  an  edict  declaring 
himself  hi  peace  with  all  the  world,  and  forbade  their  cruis- 
ing any  more,  appointing  him  consul  for  those  Christian 
states  who  had  none  in  his  country.  That  Denmark  pays 
him  25,000  piastres  fortes  yearly,  in  money;  Sweden  is  en- 
gaged to  send  an  ambassador  every  two  years  with  presents ; 
and  the  other  powers  buy  their  peace  in  the  same  manner, 
except  Spain  and  the  Italian  states,  with  whom  they  have 
constant  war.  That  he  is  consul  for  Sardinia  and  Prussia, 


for  whom  he  procured  treaties  of  peace.  That  he  proposed 
a  peace  for  Russia ;  but  that,  the  Emperor  having  heard 
that  Russia  was  going  to  war  with  his  brother,  the  Grand 
Seignior,  he  refused  it. 

M.  Audibert  Caille,  the  consul,  thinks  it  shameful  for 
Christendom  to  pay  tribute  to  such  canaille,  and  proposes 
two  ways  of  reducing  the  barbarians  to  peace  with  all  Europe, 
and  obliging  them  to  quit  their  piratical  practices.  They 
have  need  of  many  articles  from  Europe,  and  of  a  vent  for 
their  superfluous  commodities.  If  therefore  all  Europe  would 
agree  to  refuse  any  commerce  with  them  but  on  condition  of 
their  quitting  piracy,  and  such  an  agreement  could  be  faith- 
fully observed  on  our  part,  it  would  have  its  effect  upon 
them.  But,  if  any  one  power  would  continue  the  trade 
with  them,  it  would  defeat  the  whole.  There  was  another 
method  he  had  projected,  and  communicated  in  a  memorial 
to  the  court  here,  by  M.  de  Rayneval;  which  was,  that 
France  should  undertake  to  suppress  their  piracies  and  give 
peace  to  all  Europe,  by  means  of  its  influence  with  the 
Porte.  For,  all  the  people  of  these  states  being  obliged  by 
their  religion  to  go  at  times  in  caravans  to  Mecca,  and  to 
pass  through  the  Grand  Seignior's  dominions,  who  gives 
them  escorts  of  troops  through  the  desert,  to  prevent  their 
being  plundered  and  perhaps  massacred  by  the  Arabs,  he 
could  refuse  them  passage  and  protection  but  on  condition 
of  their  living  peaceably  with  the  Europeans,  &c.  He  spoke 
of  Montgomery's  transaction,  and  of  Crocco,  who,  he  under- 
stands, was  authorized  by  the  court.  The  barbarians,  he 
observed,  having  no  commercial  ships  at  sea,  had  vastly  the 
advantage  of  the  Europeans;  for  one  could  not  make  re- 
prisals on  their  trade.  And  it  has  long  been  my  opinion, 

VOL.  X  —  2  A 


that,  if  the  European  nations,  who  are  powerful  at  sea,  were 
to  make  war  upon  us  Americans,  it  would  be  better  for  us  to 
renounce  commerce  in  our  own  bottoms,  and  convert  them 
all  into  cruisers.  Other  nations  would  furnish  us  with  what 
we  wanted,  and  take  off  our  produce.  He  promised  me  a 
note  of  the  commerce  of  Barbary,  and  we  are  to  see  each 
other  again,  as  he  is  to  stay  here  a  month. 

Dined  at  Mr.  Grand's,  with  the  Swedish  gentlemen.  They 

were  M.  Rosenstein,  secretary  of  the  embassy,  and  , 

with  whom  I  had  a  good  deal  of  conversation  relating  to 
the  commerce  possible  between  our  two  countries.  I  found 
they  had  seen  at  Rome  Charles  Stuart,  the  Pretender.  They 
spoke  of  his  situation  as  very  hard;  that  France,  who  had 
formerly  allowed  him  a  pension,  had  withdrawn  it,  and  that 
he  sometimes  almost  wanted  bread  ! 

July  nth.  —  M.  Walterstorf  called.  He  hears  that  the 
agreement  with  Sweden  respecting  the  port  of  Gottenburg 
is  not  likely  to  be  concluded ;  that  Sweden  wanted  an  island 
in  the  West  Indies  in  exchange.  I  think  she  is  better  with- 
out it. 

July  i^th.  —  MM.  Mirabeau  and  Champfort  came  and 
read  their  translation  of  (American)  Mr.  Burke's  pamphlet 
against  the  Cincinnati,1  which  they  have  much  enlarged,  in- 
tending it  as  a  covered  satire  against  noblesse  in  general.  It 
is  well  done.  There  are  also  remarks  on  the  last  letter  of 
General  Washington  on  that  subject.  They  say  General 
Washington  missed  a  beau  moment,  when  he  accepted  to  be 
of  that  society  (which  some  affect  to  call  an  order}.  The 
same  of  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette. 

1  A  pamphlet  by  yEdanus  Burke,  of  South  Carolina,  entitled  "  Considera- 
tions upon  the  Order  of  the  Cincinnati."  —  ED. 


July  I4//&.  —  Mr.  Hammond  calls  to  acquaint  me,  that 
Mr.  Hartley  is  still  without  any  instructions  relating  to  the 
treaty  of  commerce;  and  supposes  it  occasioned  by  their 
attention  to  the  India  bill.  I  said  to  him,  "Your  court  and 
this  seem  to  be  waiting  for  one  another,  with  respect  to  the 
American  trade  with  your  respective  islands.  You  are  both 
afraid  of  doing  too  much  for  us,  and  yet  each  wishes  to  do  a 
little  more  than  the  other.  You  had  better  have  accepted 
our  generous  proposal  at  first,  to  put  us  both  on  the  same 
footing  of  free  intercourse  that  existed  before  the  war.  You 
will  make  some  narrow  regulations,  and  then  France  will  go 
beyond  you  in  generosity.  You  never  see  your  follies  till 
too  late  to  mend  them."  He  said,  Lord  Sheffield  was  con- 
tinually exasperating  the  Parliament  against  America.  He 
had  lately  been  publishing  an  account  of  loyalists  murdered 
there,  &c.  Probably  invented. 

Thursday,  July  i$th.  —  The  Duke  de  Chartres's  balloon 
went  off  this  morning  from  St.  Cloud,  himself  and  three 
others  in  the  gallery.  It  was  foggy,  and  they  were  soon  out 
of  sight.  But,  the  machine  being  disordered,  so  that  the 
trap  or  valve  could  not  be  opened  to  let  out  the  expanding 
air,  and  fearing  that  the  balloon  would  burst,  they  cut  a  hole 
in  it,  which  ripped  larger,  and  they  fell  rapidly,  but  received 
no  harm.  They  had  been  a  vast  height,  met  with  a  cloud 
of  snow,  and  a  tornado,  which  frightened  them. 

Friday,  i6th.  —  Received  a  letter  from  two  young  gentle- 
men1 in  London,  who  are  come  from  America  for  ecclesiastical 
orders,  and  complain  that  they  have  been  delayed  there  a 
year,  and  that  the  Archbishop  will  not  permit  them  to  be 
ordained  unless  they  will  take  the  oath  of  allegiance;  and 

1  Messrs.  Gant  and  Weemes.     See  Vol.  IX,  p.  238. 


desiring  to  know  if  they  may  be  ordained  here.  Inquired, 
and  learned  that,  if  ordained  here,  they  must  vow  obedience 
to  the  Archbishop  of  Paris.  Directed  my  grandson  to  ask 
the  Nuncio,  if  their  bishop  in  America  might  not  be  in- 
structed to  do  it  literally  ? 

Saturday,  ijth.  —  The  Nuncio  says  the  thing  is  impossible, 
unless  the  gentlemen  become  Roman  Catholics.  Wrote 
them  an  answer. 

Sunday,  iSth.  —  A  good  abbe*  brings  me  a  large  manu- 
script containing  a  scheme  of  reformation  of  all  churches  and 
states,  religion,  commerce,  laws,  &c.,  which  he  has  planned 
in  his  closet,  without  much  knowledge  of  the  world.  I  have 
promised  to  look  it  over,  and  he  is  to  call  next  Thursday. 
It  is  amazing  the  number  of  legislators  that  kindly  bring  me 
new  plans  for  governing  the  United  States. 

Monday,  July  igth.  —  Had  the  Americans  at  dinner,  with 
Mr.  White  and  Mr.  Arbuthnot  from  England.  The  latter 
was  an  officer  at  Gibraltar  during  the  late  siege.  He  says 
the  Spaniards  might  have  taken  it;  and  that  it  is  now  a 
place  of  no  value  to  England.  That  its  supposed  use  as  a 
port  for  a  fleet,  to  prevent  the  junction  of  the  Brest  and 
Toulon  squadrons,  is  chimerical.  That  while  the  Spaniards 
are  in  possession  of  Algeziras,  they  can  with  their  gun-boats, 
hi  the  use  of  which  they  are  grown  very  expert,  make  it  im- 
possible for  any  fleet  to  lie  there. 

Tuesday,  2oth.  —  My  grandson  went  to  court.  No  news 
there,  except  that  the  Spanish  fleet  against  Algiers  is  sailed. 
Receive  only  one  American  letter  by  the  packet,  which  is 
from  the  College  of  Rhode  Island,  desiring  me  to  solicit 
benefactions  of  the  King,  which  I  cannot  do,  for  reasons 
which  I  shall  give  them.  It  is  inconceivable  why  I  have  no 


letters  from  Congress.  The  treaties  with  Denmark,  Por- 
tugal, &c.,  all  neglected !  Mr.  Hartley  makes  the  same 
complaint.  He  is  still  without  orders.  Mr.  Hammond 
called  and  dined  with  me;  says  Mr.  Pitt  begins  to  lose  his 
popularity;  his  new  taxes,  and  project  about  the  navy  bills, 
give  great  discontent.  He  has  been  burnt  in  effigy  at  York. 
His  East  India  bill  not  likely  to  go  down ;  and  it  is  thought 
he  cannot  stand  long.  Mr.  Hammond  is  a  friend  of  Mr. 
Fox;  whose  friends,  that  have  lost  their  places,  are  called 
Fox's  Martyrs. 

Wednesday,  July  21.  —  Count  de  Haga1  sends  his  card  to 
take  leave.  M.  Grand  tells  me  he  has  bought  here  my  bust 
with  that  of  M.  D'Alembert  or  Diderot,  to  take  with  him  to 
Sweden.  He  set  out  last  night. 

Thursday,  22d.  —  Lord  Fitzmaurice,  son  of  Lord  Shelburne, 
arrives ;  brought  me  sundry  letters  and  papers. 

He  thinks  Mr.  Pitt  in  danger  of  losing  his  majority  in  the 
House  of  Commons,  though  great  at  present ;  for  he  will  not 
have  wherewithal  to  pay  them.  I  said,  that  governing  by  a 
Parliament  which  must  be  bribed,  was  employing  a  very 
expensive  machine,  and  that  the  people  of  England  would 
in  time  find  out,  though  they  had  not  yet,  that,  since  the 
Parliament  must  always  do  the  will  of  the  minister,  and  be 
paid  for  doing  it,  and  the.  people  must  find  the  money  to 
pay  them,  it  would  be  the  same  thing  in  effect,  but  much 
cheaper,  to  be  governed  by  the  minister  at  first  hand,  without 
a  Parliament.  Those  present  seemed  to  think  the  reasoning 
clear.  Lord  Fitzmaurice  appears  a  sensible,  amiable  young 

Tuesday,  2^th.  —  Lord  Fitzmaurice  called  to  see  me.    His 

1  The  king  of  Sweden. 


father  having  requested  that  I  would  give  him  such  instruc- 
tive hints  as  might  be  useful  to  him,  I  occasionally  mentioned 
the  old  story  of  Demosthenes'  answer  to  one  who  demanded 
what  was  the  first  point  of  oratory.  Action.  The  second? 
Action.  The  third?  Action.  Which,  I  said,  had  been 
generally  understood  to  mean  the  action  of  an  orator  with  his 
hands,  &c.,  in  speaking ;  but  that  I  thought  another  kind  of 
action  of  more  importance  to  an  orator,  who  would  persuade 
people  to  follow  his  advice,  viz.  such  a  course  of  action  in  the 
conduct  of  life,  as  would  impress  them  with  an  opinion  of  his 
integrity  as  well  as  of  his  understanding;  that,  this  opinion 
once  established,  all  the  difficulties,  delays,  and  oppositions, 
usually  occasioned  by  doubts  and  suspicions,  were  prevented ; 
and  such  a  man,  though  a  very  imperfect  speaker,  would  al- 
most always  carry  his  points  against  the  most  flourishing  ora- 
tor, who  had  not  the  character  of  sincerity.  To  express  my 
sense  of  the  importance  of  a  good  private  character  in  public 
affairs  more  strongly,  I  said  the  advantage  of  having  it,  and 
the  disadvantage  of  not  having  it,  were  so  great,  that  I  even 
believed,  if  George  the  Third  had  had  a  bad  private  charac- 
ter, and  John  Wilkes  a  good  one,  the  latter  might  have 
turned  the  former  out  of  his  kingdom.  Lord  Shelburne, 
the  father  of  Lord  Fitzmaurice,  has  unfortunately  the  char- 
acter of  being  insincere;  and  it  has  hurt  much  his  useful- 
ness ;  though,  in  all  my  concerns  with  him,  I  never  saw  any 
instance  of  that  kind. 

John  Adams  declared  that  Franklin's  reputation  was  more 
universal  than  that  of  Leibnitz  or  Newton,  Frederick  or 
Voltaire ;  and  his  character  more  beloved  and  esteemed  than 


any  or  all  of  them.  Surely  there  never  lived  a  man  more  idol- 
ized. Everything  about  him  was  imitated  and  extolled,  —  his 
spectacles,  his  marten  fur  cap,  his  brown  coat,  his  bamboo 
cane.  Men  carried  their  canes  and  their  snuffboxes  a  la 
Franklin,  women  crowned  him  with  flowers,  and  every 
patrician  house  in  Paris  showed  a  Franklin  portrait  on  the 
wall,  and  a  Franklin  stove  in  one  of  the  apartments.  Busts 
were  made  of  him  in  Sevres  China,  set  in  a  blue  stone  with 
gold  border,  and  barrels  of  miniatures  made  of  the  clay  from 
Chaumont  found  eager  purchasers.  When  Voltaire  and 
Franklin  kissed  each  other  in  the  hall  of  the  Academy,  the 
enthusiastic  sages  and  tribunes  thundered  their  applause,  — 
"Behold  Solon  and  Sophocles  embrace."  * 

His  fame  was  almost  as  great  elsewhere  in  Europe  as  in 
France.  He  was  elected  to  membership  in  learned  societies 
from  Russia  to  Spain.  He  was  appointed  one  of  the  eight 
foreign  associates  of  the  "Academic  des  Sciences,"  an  honour 
only  once  repeated  in  the  history  of  America,  and  he  was  one 
of  the  four  commissioners  of  that  august  and  learned  Society. 
He  was  elected  a  member  of  the  Royal  Academy  of  Arts 
and  Sciences  of  Padua  (April  26,  1782),  of  Turin  (July  28, 
1783),  of  La  Socie'te'  Royale  de  Physique  d'Histoire  Naturelle 
et  des  Arts  d'Orleans  (April  5,  1785),  of  the  Royal  Academy 
of  History  of  Madrid  (July  9, 1784),  of  Rotterdam  (Bataafsch 

1  Franklin  was  present  at  the  Apotheosis  of  Voltaire  at  the  lodge  of  the  Neuf 
Sceurs,  of  which  he  was  a  member.  It  was  said  that  if  jealousy  could  enter 
the  hearts  of  Free  Masons  all  the  lodges  in  Paris  would  envy  Neuf  Sceurs  the 
honour  of  possessing  Franklin  as  a  member. 

Franklin  presented  his  grandson  to  Voltaire,  who  said  to  him,  "  Love  God 
and  liberty."  Governor  Hutchinson  was  dining  with  Lord  Mansfield  when 
the  latter  told  this  anecdote.  Hutchinson  observed  that  it  was  difficult  to  say 
which  of  those  two  words  had  been  most  used  to  bad  purposes  —  "  His  Lord- 
ship seemed  pleased  with  my  remark." 


Genootschapder  Proefondervindelijke  Wijsbegeerte),  in  1771, 
foreign  member  of  Konigliche  Gesellschaft  der  Wissen- 
schaften  at  Gottingen,  1766. 

Franklin's  vast  European  reputation  rested  primarily  upon 
his  scientific  achievement.  The  eighteenth  century  was 
restlessly  curious  about  natural  phenomena,  audacious  in  its 
inquiry,  and  sceptical  in  philosophical  speculation.  It  recog- 
nized and  welcomed  in  Franklin  a  sagacious,  clear-sighted 
observer  who  had  explored  strange  worlds  of  thought,  and  wrung 
new  and  tremendous  secrets  from  nature's  close  reserve.  The 
mind  of  Europe,  pondering  with  all  the  intensity  of  fresh 
enthusiasm  upon  natural  science,  was  thrilled  and  amazed  by 
the  magnitude  and  meaning  of  his  researches.  He  became, 
in  a  world  enamoured  of  natural  science,  the  object  of  universal 
interest  and  admiration.  Artists  painted  him  with  light- 
nings playing  in  the  background  of  the  picture,  or  lighting  up 
his  benign  features.  Condorcet  addressed  him  as  the  modern 
Prometheus ;  and  men  of  learning,  the  foremost  in  their  pro- 
fessions, modestly  solicited  his  explication  of  old  problems 
and  his  judgment  upon  new  theories. 

The  audacity  of  eighteenth-century  thought  was  not  con- 
fined to  natural  science.  The  spirit  of  the  age  interrogated  the 
social  order,  tested  its  foundations,  sank  its  probe  deep  into 
the  crumbling  substance  of  government  and  found  only  decay. 
What  seemed  so  firmly  based  as  to  endure  forever  was  built  on 
stubble.  Through  law,  religion,  letters,  politics,  a  subtle 
poison  had  diffused  itself,  and  rank  corruption  mining  all 
within  infected  unseen.  The  outside  was  fair  and  tranquil : 
ancient  glories  shone  upon  a  radiant  Versailles;  Lucullus 
feasts  were  daily  given ;  gay  and  silken  throngs  chattered  in 
the  dazzling  halls  of  palaces ;  red-heeled  courtiers  dined  and 


danced ;  while  here  and  there,  in  town  and  country,  men  who 
had  drunk  bitter  draughts  of  penury  and  despair  saw  upon  the 
horizon  images  of  portentous  things  to  come. 

Filangieri  relentlessly  examined  the  European  systems  of 
law,  civil  and  criminal,  and  at  each  step  of  his  progress  turned 
to  Franklin  for  direction.  Lorenzo  Manini  created  the 
Cisalpine  Republic,  and  leaned  upon  the  encouraging  arm  of 
Franklin.  The  Physiocrats,  Dupont  de  Nemours,  Dubourg, 
Mirabeau,  Turgot,  Morellet,  and  the  venerable  apostle, 
Quesnai,  were  strengthened  by  the  presence  of  Franklin  hi 
their  speculative  group. 

The  great  epigram  created  by  the  good  Turgot  —  Eripuit 
caelo  fulmen  sceptrumque  tyrannis  —  explains  the  incredible, 
almost  fabulous,  popularity  in  which  Franklin  was  held  in 
Europe.  He  was  the  living  presence  of  the  new  age,  the  in- 
carnation of  democracy,  the  successful  antagonist  of  tyrants, 
the  builder  of  happy  states  founded  upon  freedom  and  justice. 
With  whatsoever  modesty  he  disclaimed  the  honour  of  Turgot's 
epigram,  the  world  persisted  hi  imputing  to  him  alone  the 
creation  of  the  Republic  and  the  triumphant  leadership  of  the 
"dear  insurgents." 

He  was  as  unconscious  as  any  fair  dame  or  giddy  courtier, 
"born  to  bloom  and  drop,"  of  the  strong  current  whose  com- 
pulsive course  was  carrying  the  nation  rapidly  and  irresist- 
ibly to  ruin.  During  his  residence  in  Paris  he  enjoyed  famil- 
iar intercourse  and  in  some  instances  close  communion  with 
those  who  in  another  decade,  in  the  wild  delirium  of  the 
Revolution,  were  to  be  first  in  the  ranks  of  death.  Elsewhere 
in  these  volumes  is  printed  a  letter  to  him  from  an  obscure 
young  notary  in  Arras,  destined  to  a  sinister  history.  At  the 
mention  of  his  name  —  Robespierre  —  the  long  bright  day  of 


French  regal  splendour  wanes,  and  the  mutter  of  the  coming 
storm  disturbs  the  air.  Frequently,  Franklin  received  letters 
from  a  zealous  experimenter  in  science  who,  withholding  his 
true  name,  signed  himself  "the  Representative."  He  who 
was  then  inquiring  scientifically  into  the  nature  of  flame  was 
soon  to  play  with  wilder  fire  and  help  to  kindle  the  most 
tremendous  conflagration  in  history.  It  was  Jean  Paul 

Another  friend,  a  physician,  associated  with  Franklin  in 
the  investigation  and  exposure  of  the  charlatan  Mesmer, 
divulged  to  him  his  project  of  establishing  himself  and  his 
friends  in  a  settlement  upon  the  Ohio  River.  His  friends 
actually  wandered  to  America,  but  he  remained  to  play  a  part 
in  the  Revolution  and  to  see  his  name  —  Guillotin  —  given 
to  that 

"  Patent  reaper  whose  sheaves  sleep  sound 
In  dreamless  garners  under  ground." 

The  enthusiasm  for  le  grand  Franklin  became  a  passion, 
became  idolatry.  He  bore  it  all  with  composure ;  his  seren- 
ity was  undisturbed  by  flattery,  his  confidence  undaunted  by 
disaster.  He  received  the  tidings  of  misfortune  with  a  smile 
and  a  jest.  "Howe  has  taken  Philadelphia,"  mourned 
Paris.  "No,"  said  Franklin,  "  Philadelphia  has  taken  Howe." 
His  cheer  and  confidence  became  the  encouragement  and 
the  inspiration  of  France.  When  rumours  of  disaster  circu- 
lated in  the  ports  of  France,  the  Frenchmen  who  came  to 
condole  with  Pbre  Franklin  found  the  patriarch  philosophi- 
cally calm  and  confident.  To  all  such  reports  he  replied, 
"fa  ira,  fa  ira"  —  "it  will  go  on !"  And  when  dark  days 
came  for  France,  in  the  wild  days  of  the  Terror,  and  men  de- 
spaired of  everything,  they  remembered  the  serenity  of  the 


great  American,  and  they  repeated  to  each  other  until  the 
repetition  became  a  watchword  of  hope  and  courage  and 
endurance  —  "fa  ira,  fa  ira." 

Amid  all  the  great  life  of  the  court  and  the  salon,  he  was 
never  neglectful  of  his  smaller  duties  and  humbler  affairs. 
His  mind  was  capacious  of  both.  He  placed  his  grandson, 
Benjamin  Franklin  Bache,  and  the  grandson  of  his  old  friend 
Samuel  Cooper  at  school  in  Geneva  hi  the  care  of  M.  Marig- 
nac  and  examined  the  reports  of  their  progress  and  attended 
to  their  small  necessities  with  the  same  care  that  he  devoted 
to  the  grave  affairs  of  state.  Elsewhere  in  this  work  his 
letters  of  advice  and  encouragement  to  William  Temple 
Franklin  are  printed.  At  this  point  it  may  not  be  inappro- 
priate to  insert  a  letter  of  like  character  written  by  him  to 
Samuel  Cooper  Johonnot,  his  Boston  friend's  grandson. 


Passy,  Jan.  ?  7.  1782. 


I  received  your  kind  good  Wishes  of  a  Number  of  happy 
Years  for  me.  I  have  already  enjoy'd  and  consum'd  nearly 
the  whole  of  those  allotted  me,  being  now  within  a  few  Days 
of  my  ySth.  —  You  have  a  great  many  before  you ;  and  their 
being  happy  or  otherwise  will  depend  upon  your  own  Con- 
duct. If  by  diligent  Study  now,  you  improve  your  Mind,  and 
practice  carefully  hereafter  the  Precepts  of  Religion  and  Vir- 
tue, you  will  have  in  your  favour  the  Promise  respecting  the 
Life  that  now  is,  as  well  as  that  which  is  to  come.  You  will 
possess  true  Wisdom,  which  is  nearly  allied  to  Happiness: 
Length  of  Days  are  in  her  right-hand,  and  in  her  left  hand 


Riches  and  Honours;  all  her  Ways  are  Ways  of  Pleasantness, 
and  all  her  Paths  are  Peace  I  — 

I  am  glad  to  hear  that  you  are  entitled  to  a  Prize.  It  will 
be  pleasing  News  to  your  Friends  in  New  England,  that  you 
have  behav'd  so  as  to  deserve  it.  I  pray  God  to  bless  you,  and 
render  you  a  Comfort  to  them  and  an  Honour  to  your  Coun- 
try. I  am, 

Your  affectionate  Friend, 




WHEN  the  joint  commission  was  annulled,  John  Adams 
returned  in  the  spring  of  1779  to  America.  In  a  few  months 
Arthur  and  William  Lee  and  Ralph  Izard,  who  had  stayed  on 
in  Paris  promoting  strife  and  teasing  Franklin  with  many 
petty  annoyances,  were  commanded  to  return.  Franklin 
enjoyed  a  free  hand  and  some  tranquil  moments  until  John 
Adams  was  again  sent  to  Europe  in  February,  1780,  to  repre- 
sent Congress  in  any  possible  negotiations  for  peace.  Adams 
was  restive  under  restraint,  and  he  was  jealous  of  Franklin's 
superior  authority.  He  committed  the  indiscretion  of  writing 
long  and  impertinent  letters  to  Count  de  Vergennes  without 
consulting  Franklin.  After  vainly  reminding  him  that  there 
was  but  one  American  plenipotentiary  in  Paris  and  therefore 
but  one  person  with  whom  the  government  could  discuss 
questions  of  policy,  the  Count  de  Vergennes  sent  the  entire 
correspondence  to  Franklin  with  a  request  that  it  should  be 


transmitted  to  Congress.  Franklin's  letters  to  De  Vergennes 
and  Adams  are  found  in  Vol.  VIII,  pp.  117,  118,  123,  147, 
148.  The  letter  from  Adams  to  Vergennes  referred  to  in 
that  correspondence  is  as  follows:  — 

Paris  July  27*  1780 

Since  my  Letter  of  the  Twenty  first;  and  upon  reading 
over  again  your  Excellency's  Letter  to  me  of  the  Twentieth, 
I  observed  one  Expression  which  I  think  it  my  Duty  to  con- 
sider more  particularly. 

The  Expression  I  have  in  view  is  this,  That  the  King, 
without  being  sollicited  by  the  Congress,  had  taken  measures 
the  most  efficacious,  to  sustain  the  American  Cause. 

Upon  this  Part  of  your  Letter,  I  must  entreat  your  Ex- 
cellency to  recollect,  that  the  Congress  did,  as  long  ago  as  the 
year  Seventeen  hundred  and  seventy  six,  before  Dr.  Franklin 
was  sent  off  for  France,  instruct  him,  Mr  Deane,  and  Lee, 
to  sollicit  the  king  for  Six  Ships  of  the  Line :  and  I  have  reason 
to  believe  that  the  Congress  have  been  from  that  moment 
to  this  persuaded  that  the  object  has  been  constantly  solicited 
by  their  Ministers  at  this  Court. 

In  addition  to  this,  I  have  every  personal  as  well  as  public 
motive,  to  recall  to  your  Excellency's  Recollection,  a  Letter 
or  Memorial  which  was  presented  to  your  Excellency  in  the 
Latter  end  of  the  month  of  December  Seventeen  Hundred  and 
seventy  eight,  or  the  beginning  of  January  Seventeen  Hundred 
and  seventy  nine,  in  which  a  great  variety  of  arguments  were 
adduced  to  show,  that  it  was  not  only  good  Policy,  but  abso- 
lutely necessary  to  send  a  Superiority  of  naval  force  to  the 
Coasts  of  the  Continent  of  America.  This  Letter  together 


with  your  Excellency's  Answer  acknowledging  the  receipt  of 
it,  I  transmitted  to  Congress  myself,  and  their  Journals  show 
that  they  received  them  near  a  year  ago ;  So  that  the  Congress, 
I  am  persuaded,  rest  in  the  most  perfect  Security  in  the  per- 
suasion that  everything  has  been  done  by  themselves,  and 
their  Servants  at  this  Court  to  obtain  this  measure  and  that 
the  necessary  arrangements  of  the  King's  naval  service  have 
hitherto  prevented  it. 

But  was  it  only  Suspected  by  Congress,  that  a  direct  appli- 
cation from  them  to  the  King,  was  expected,  I  am  assured 
they  would  not  hesitate  a  moment  to  make  it. 

I  am  so  convinced  by  experience,  of  the  absolute  necessity 
of  more  Consultations  and  communications  between  His 
Majesty's  Ministers,  and  the  Ministers  of  Congress,  thai  I  am 
determined  to  omit  no  Opportunity  of  communicating  my  Sen- 
timents to  your  Excellency,  upon  everything  that  appears  to  me 
of  Importance  to  the  common  Cause,  in  which  I  can  do  it  with 
propriety.  And  the  Communications  shall  be  DIRECT  IN 
PERSON,  or  by  Letter,  to  your  Excellency,  WITHOUT  THE  INTER- 
VENTION OF  ANY  THIRD  PERSON.  And  I  shall  be  very  happy, 
and  think  myself  highly  honored,  to  give  my  poor  Opinion 
and  Advice  to  his  Majesty's  Ministers,  upon  anything  that 
relates  to  the  United  States,  or  the  common  Cause,  whenever 
they  shall  be  asked. 

I  wish  I  may  be  mistaken,  but  it  could  answer  no  good 
purpose  to  deceive  myself;  and  I  certainly  will  not  disguise 
my  Sentiments  from  your  Excellency.  I  think  that  Admiral 
Graves,  with  the  Ships  before  in  America,  will  be  able  to 
impede  the  Operations  of  M.  Le  Chev'  de  Ternay,  of  M.  Le 
Comte  de  Rochambeau  and  of  General  Washington,  if  their 
Plan  is  to  attack  New  York. 


If  there  should  be  a  Naval  Battle  between  Chev*  de  Ternay 
and  Admiral  Graves  the  event  is  uncertain.  From  the  near 
equality  of  Force  and  the  equality  of  Bravery,  and  of  naval 
Science,  which  now  prevails  everywhere,  I  think  we  cannot 
depend  upon  any  thing  decisive  in  such  an  Engagement,  unless 
it  be  from  the  particular  Character  of  Graves,  whom  I  know 
personally  to  be  neither  a  great  man  nor  a  great  officer.  If 
there  should  be  no  decision  in  a  naval  rencounter,  Graves 
and  his  Fleet  must  be  at  New  York,  and  de  Temay  and  his  at 
Rhode  Island.  I  readily  agree  that  this  will  be  a  great 
advantage  to  the  common  Cause,  for  the  Reasons  mentioned 
hi  my  Letter  to  your  Excellency,  of  the  Thirteenth  of  this 

But  Still  I  beg  Leave  to  suggest  to  your  Excellency,  whether 
it  would  not  be  for  the  good  of  the  common  Cause,  to  have 
Still  farther  Resources  in  view  —  whether  Circumstances 
may  not  be  such  in  the  West  Indies,  as  to  enable  M'  de 
Guichen  to  dispatch  Ships  to  the  Reinforcement  of  M.  de 
Ternay,  or  whether  it  may  not  consist  with  the  King's  Service 
to  dispatch  Ships  from  Europe  for  that  Purpose,  and  further 
whether  the  Court  of  Spain  cannot  be  convinced  of  the  Policy 
of  keeping  open  the  Communication  between  the  United 
States  and  the  French  and  Spanish  Islands  in  the  West  Indies, 
so  as  to  cooperate  with  France  and  the  United  States  in  the 
system  of  keeping  up  a  constant  Superiority  of  Naval  Power 
both  upon  the  Coasts  of  North  America,  and  the  West  India 
Islands.  This  is  the  true  plan  which  is  finally  to  humble  the 
English  and  give  the  combined  Powers  the  advantage. 

The  English  in  the  Course  of  the  last  War,  derived  all  their 
Triumphs  upon  the  Continent  of  America,  and  the  Islands 
from  the  succours  they  received  from  their  Colonies.  And  I 


am  sure  that  France  and  Spain  with  attention  to  the  subject, 
may  receive  assistance  in  this  war,  from  the  same  source 
equally  decisive.  I  have  the  Honor  to  be  with  great  respect 
and  attachment,  Sir,  Your  Excellency's  most  obedient,  and 
most  humble  servant 

(Signed)  JOHN  ADAMS 

Among  the  unpleasant  duties  that  devolved  upon  Franklin 
were  the  adjustment  of  difficulties  between  jealous  and  jarring 
captains,  the  apportionment  of  prize  money,  and  the  various 
functions  that  should  have  been  discharged  by  a  consul.  The 
quarrel  between  John  Paul  Jones  and  Captain  Landais 
caused  him  much  annoyance.  It  is  sufficiently  described 
in  the  correspondence  in  Vol.  VIII,  pp.  33,  35,  etc.  It  may 
be  proper  here  to  insert  a  letter  from  Franklin  containing 
a  summary  of  the  affair. 


Passy,  March  15,  1780. 

GENTLEMEN  :  I  acquainted  you  in  a  former  letter  that  there 
were  great  misunderstandings  between  Captain  Landais  and 
the  other  officers  of  his  ship.  These  differences  arose  to  such 
a  height  that  the  captain  once  wrote  to  me  he  would  quit  the 
command  rather  than  continue  with  them.  Some  of  them 
leaving  the  ship,  that  disturbance  seemed  to  be  quieted. 
But  there  has  since  arisen  another  violent  quarrel  between  him- 
self and  Captain  Jones.  These  things  give  me  great  trouble, 
particularly  the  latter,  the  circumstances  of  which  I  am  under 
a  necessity  of  communicating  to  you,  that  measures  may  be 
taken  for  putting  properly  an  end  to  it  by  a  court-martial,  if 


you  find  that  step  necessary.  Soon  after  the  arrival  of  our 
little  squadron  in  the  Texel  I  had  a  letter  from  Commodore 
Jones,  complaining  highly  of  Captain  Landais,  and  mention- 
ing that  he  was  advised  to  put  him  under  arrest  in  order  to  his 
trial  by  a  court-martial,  for  which,  however,  there  was  not  a 
sufficient  number  of  officers  in  Europe.  But  he  would  do 
nothing  in  it  until  he  heard  from  me.  I  had  another  from 
Captain  Landais  complaining  of  Commodore  Jones,  and  beg- 
ging me  to  order  inquiry  into  the  matter  as  soon  as  possible. 
I  received  also  a  letter  from  the  minister  of  the  marine,  of 
which  the  following  is  an  extract  viz : 

Je  suis  persuade",  monsieur,  que  vous  n'aurez  pas  e*te" 
moins  touche*  que  moi  de  la  perte  du  grand  nombre  de  vol- 
ontaires  Franfais  qui  ont  6t€  toe's  dans  le  combat  du  Bon- 
homme  Richard  centre  le  vaisseau  de  guerre  anglois  le 
Serapis.  Get  eV&iement  est  d'autant  plus  facheux,  qu'il 
paroit  que  si  la  frigate  ame'ricane  L 'Alliance  avoit  seconde" 
le  Bonhomme  Richard  en  combattant  en  m6me  tenir  1'avan- 
tage  remporte'  par  le  Comm.  Jones,  auroit  e*te  plus  prompte, 
auroit  ccnte*  moins  de  monde,  et  n'auroit  pas  mis  le  Bon- 
homme Richard  dans  le  cas  de  couler  bas  trente-six  heures 
apres  le  combat.  Le  Capitaine  de  cette  frigate  ayant  tenu 
une  conduite  tres  extraordinaire,  je  ne  doute  pas  monsieur, 
que  vous  ne  lui  mandiez  de  se  rendre  aupres  de  vous  pour  en 
rendre  compte,  et  que  dans  le  cas  oil  vous  reconnoitrez  que 
c'est  par  sa  faute  que  la  victoire  a  coute  tant  de  sang,  vous  me 
jugiez  a  propos  d'en  informer  le  Congres,  a  fin  qu'il  fasse 
rayer  le  Capitaine  de  dessus  a  liste  des  officiers  de  sa  marine, 

Upon  this,  and  with  the  advice  of  a  very  respectable  friend 
of  Captain  Landais,  M.  de  Chaumont,  who  thought  sending 

VOL.  X  —  2B 


for  him  to  come  to  Paris,  in  order  to  an  inquiry  into  his  con- 
duct, would  prevent  many  inconveniences  to  the  service  that 
might  attend  a  more  public  discussion,  I  wrote  to  him  October 
15,  acquainting  him  with  the  principal  heads  of  charges 
against  him,  and  directing  him  to  render  himself  here,  bring- 
ing with  him  such  papers  and  testimonies  as  he  might  think 
useful  in  his  justification.  I  wrote  at  the  same  time  to 
Commodore  Jones  to  send  up  such  proofs  as  he  might  have 
in  support  of  his  charges  against  the  captain,  that  I  might 
be  enabled  to  give  a  just  account  of  the  affair  to  Congress.  In 
two  or  three  weeks  Captain  Landais  came  to  Paris,  but  I 
received  no  answer  from  Commodore  Jones.  After  waiting 
some  days  I  concluded  to  hear  Captain  Landais  on  the  i5th 
of  November,  without  longer  delay,  and  that  the  impartiality 
of  the  inquiry  might  be  more  clear  I  requested  the  above 
named,  a  friend  of  Captain  Landais,  and  Dr.  Bancroft,  a 
friend  of  Commodore  Jones,  to  be  present.  With  this  I  sent 
the  minutes  that  were  taken  on  that  occasion. 

The  justification  Captain  Landais  offers  in  answer  to  the 
charge  of  disobedience  of  the  commodore's  orders  seems  to 
call  on  me  for  an  expknation  of  what  relates  to  those  I 
had  given  Captain  Landais.  The  armament  was  made  at 
POrient.  M.  de  Chaumont  was  present  there,  and  had  the 
care  of  it.  I  was  necessarily  at  a  great  distance,  and  could 
not  be  consulted  on  every  occasion,  and  I  was  not  on  the 
following.  A  convoy  being  wanted  for  some  merchant  ships 
to  Bordeaux,  and  our  squadron  being  ready,  and  there  being 
time  sufficient,  it  was  employed  in  and  performed  that  oc- 
casional service.  The  Alliance  and  Bon  Homme  Richard 
afterwards  at  sea  ran  foul  of  each  other  in  the  night,  the  latter 
received  great  damages,  and  all  returned  to  L'Orient,  the 


state  of  the  crew,  as  well  as  that  of  the  ship,  making  it  at  first 
doubtful  whether  the  Bon  Homme  Richard  might  not  be  long 
detained  in  port.  I  was  applied  to  for  the  conditional  order 
I  gave  on  the  28th  of  June  to  Captain  Landais.  I  could  not 
foresee  that  he  would  think  a  cruise,  for  which  he  was  to  take 
on  board  six  months'  provisions  and  during  which  he  was  to 
be  under  the  orders  of  Commodore  Jones,  was  accomplished 
by  the  little  trip  to  Bordeaux  and  the  return  above  mentioned, 
and  that  he  was  therefore  no  longer  under  those  orders.  Nor 
could  I  imagine  that  a  conditional  order  for  cruising  alone,  in 
case  the  Bon  Homme  could  not  be  ready  in  time,  would,  if  she 
was  ready,  and  they  sailed  together,  be  construed  into  an  ex- 
emption from  that  subordination  hi  a  squadron  which  regular 
discipline  and  the  good  of  the  service  requires,  otherwise  I 
should  certainly  have  removed  those  misapprehensions  by 
fresh  and  very  explicit  orders.  How  far  Captain  Landais  is 
justifiable  hi  those  interpretations  and  his  consequent  conduct 
must  be  left  to  his  proper  judges. 

The  absence  of  Commodore  Jones  and  of  all  the  witnesses, 
so  that  none  of  them  could  be  cross-examined,  have  made  this 
inquiry  very  imperfect.  You  will  perceive  that  contradictions 
appear  in  the  evidence  on  both  sides  in  some  very  material 
points.  Those,  with  my  ignorance  in  the  manceuvering  of 
ships  engaged,  and  their  possible  operations  under  all  the 
variety  of  circumstances  that  wind,  tide,  and  situation  afford, 
make  it  as  impracticable  for  me  to  form,  as  it  would  be  im- 
proper for  me  without  authority  to  give,  a  judgment  in  this 
affair.  I  will  only  take  the  liberty  of  saying  hi  favor  of 
Captain  Landais  that,  notwithstanding  the  mortal  quarrel 
that  rose  between  them  at  sea,  it  does  not  appear  to  me  at 
all  probable  he  fired  into  the  Bon  Homme  Richard  with 


design  to  kill  Captain  Jones.  The  inquiry,  though  imper- 
fect, and  the  length  of  it,  have,  however,  had  one  good  effect 
in  preventing  hitherto  a  duel  between  the  parties,  that  would 
have  given  much  scandal,  and  which  I  believe  will  now  not 
take  place,  as  both  expect  justice  from  a  court-martial  in 
I  have  the  honor  to  be,  gentlemen,  etc. 


Henry  Laurens  was  appointed  minister  to  Holland  to 
negotiate  a  treaty  that  had  been  unofficially  proposed  by 
Van  Berckel,  the  Grand  Pensionary.  He  sailed  for  Europe 
on  the  Mercury  (Captain  Pickles),  was  captured,  September  3, 
1780,  put  on  board  the  British  frigate  Vestal,  and  taken  to 
Newfoundland.  Thence  by  order  of  Admiral  Edwards  he  was 
sent  to  England  in  the  sloop  Fairy,  and  committed  to  the 
Tower  as  a  State  Prisoner  charged  with  high  Treason. 

Franklin  was  requested  to  secure  his  release,  or  at  least 
some  mitigation  of  the  severity  of  his  confinement.  It  was 
reported  that  his  health  was  suffering  by  the  rigour  and 
closeness  of  his  imprisonment.  Franklin  obtained  the  fol- 
lowing report  (P.  H.  S.)  (October  17,  1780)  from  his  secret 
correspondent,  Thomas  Digges  (William  Singleton  Church), 
in  London:  — 

"It  was  not  until  the  i4th  Inst.  that  any  Person  whatever 
was  permitted  to  see  MT  Laurens  in  the  Tower.  Then  after 
repeated  Applications  for  Admission  MT  Manning  and 
M?  Laurens's  Son,  a  Youth  of  17,  or  18,  who  has  been  some 
Years  at  Warrington  School  got  Admission  to  him.  A  Permit 
was  given  them  signed  by  the  Lords  Hillsborough,  Stormont 
and  Germain  for  Half  an  Hour's  Interview,  and  that  the 


Permit  did  not  extend  to  any  future  Visit.  They  found  him 
very  ill  of  a  lax,  much  emaciated  not  low  spirited,  and  bitterly 
invective  against  the  People  here,  for  his  harsh  Treatment. 
He  spoke  handsomely  of  his  Treatment  whilst  on  board  Ship, 
and  of  the  Capt  (Heppel)  &  Lieut.  Norris  who  attended  him 
to  London ;  but  from  the  period  of  his  landing,  he  was  treated 
with  a  Brutality,  which  he  did  not  expect  even  from  Eng- 
lishmen. His  Weakness  from  sickness,  and  the  agitation  on 
seeing  his  Son  took  up  the  first  10  of  the  30  minutes  allowed 
him  to  converse  with  his  Friends.  The  Rest  was  rilled  with 
Invective  against  the  authors  of  this  harsh  Treatment.  His 
outer  Room  is  but  a  mean  one,  not  more  than  12  Feet  square 
a  dark  close  Bed-Room  adjoining;  both  indifferently  fur- 
nished and  a  few  Books  on  his  Tables :  No  Pen  and  Ink  has 
yet  been  allowed  him ;  but  he  has  a  Pencil  and  Memorandum 
Book  in  which  he  occasionally  notes  Things.  The  Warden 
of  the  Tower,  &  a  Yeoman  constantly  at  his  Elbow,  tho' 
they  make  no  Attempts  to  stop  his  conversation.  MT  Man- 
ning's being  the  first  Visit  he  has  had,  perhaps  he  said  every 
Thing  he  could  about  the  Severity  of  his  Treatment,  in  Order 
that  it  might  get  out,  and  contradict  the  General  Report  of 
being  well  treated.  He  has  hitherto  declined  any  Physical 
Advice  or  the  Visits  of  any  of  those  Creatures  about  him,  who 
may  be  set  on  to  pump.  Mr  Perm  is  making  Application 
to  see  him,  and  will  likely  get  Leave.  It  is  doubtful  if  the  Son 
will  be  able  to  get  Admission  a  Second  Time.  His  Treat- 
ment being  now  very  generally  known,  every  Person  is  crying 
out  Shame  upon  it,  and  the  Authors  thereof  are  very  much 
abused.  It  is  a  Strange  Thing  to  go  forth,  but  it  is  the  general 
received  Opinion  that  the  Order  for  such  harsh  Treatment 
were  in  Consequence  of  an  Intimation  from  the  first  Man  in 


this  Country  now  generally  known   by  the  Appelation   of 

nFrankluT  wrote  to  his  old  friend  Sir  Grey  Cooper 
complaining  of  the  harshness  of  the  proceeding.  Cooper 
obtained  a  report  from  the  lieutenant-governor  of  the  Tower 
which  he  forwarded  to  Paris.1  Franklin  attempted  to  nego- 
tiate through  Burke  an  exchange  of  Laurens  and  Burgoyne.2 
At  Laurens's  request  Burke  addressed  the  House  in  his  behalf, 
with  the  result,  as  Hodgson  told  him,  that  he  succeeded  in 
"putting  another  bolt  in  his  door."  Laurens's  daughter 
besought  Franklin's  aid.  "Is  it  not  a  reflection  on  America," 
she  wrote,  that  one  of  her  Ambassadors,  a  man  of  worth  and 
credit,  should  in  his  Prison  be  so  miserable  as  to  want  the  com- 
mon necessaries  of  life,  and  no  notice  taken  of  it  ? 

Laurens  had  been  acquainted  with  Richard  Oswald  for 
more  than  thirty  years,  and  his  friend,  by  entering  bail  for  him 
to  the  amount  of  £2,000,  secured  his  release  upon  December 
31,  1781. 

The  financing  of  the  Revolution  was,  no  doubt,  the  greatest 
service  that  Franklin  rendered  to  America.  Without  doubt, 
too,  the  constant  necessity  of  seeking  money  in  Europe  was  the 
chief  annoyance  of  his  life.  Upon  him  devolved  the  duty  of 
negotiating  loans  and  disbursing  money.  His  political  ar- 
guments were  based  upon  finance.  As  he  expressed  it  he  had 
to  perform  the  Gibeonite  task  of  drawing  water  for  all  the 
congregation  of  Israel.  He  made  a  treaty  with  the  farmers- 
general,  whereby  cargoes  of  tobacco  from  the  South  were  to  be 
admitted  to  the  ports  of  France,  and  whereby  other  cargoes 
of  saltpetre  were  to  be  shipped  to  America.  Fortunately 
Lavoisier  was  a  farmer-general,  and  his  wife  was  the  daughter 

1  See  Vol.  VIII,  p.  165.  «  See  Vol.  VIII,  p.  319. 


of  Paulze,  another  of  the  farmers  of  revenue.  Here  again 
Franklin's  scientific  reputation  gave  him  a  political  advantage. 
He  installed  his  nephew  Jonathan  Williams  at  Nantes,  as  an 
American  financial  agent,  whose  business  was  to  sell  American 
cargoes  and  invest  the  money  hi  the  manufactures  of  France, 
"according  as  they  shall  be  ordered."  Schweighauser,  a 
merchant  of  Nantes,  was  his  active  partner.1 

Congress  continually  placed  orders  for  supplies,  and  called 
upon  Franklin  to  pay  the  bills.  Congress,  being  without 
resources  and  without  power  to  raise  a  revenue,  was  obliged 
to  look  abroad  for  loans  which  were  solicited  at  shortening 
intervals  and  with  most  petitionary  vehemence.  American 
credit  was  daily  in  peril  through  discredited  notes.  Franklin 
often  besought  the  Congress  not  to  draw  further  upon  him, 
that  he  was  without  funds  and  with  no  certainty  of  obtaining 
further  loans;  still  the  orders  were  drawn  upon  him  and 
Congress  weakly  explained  that  it  was  inevitable. 

The  United  States  depended  for  its  maintenance  upon 
Franklin.  His  personality  and  his  unwearying  efforts  pro- 
vided the  means  of  warfare.  The  little  that  was  accomplished 
hi  Holland  was  due  chiefly  to  Franklin  working  through 
Charles  Dumas.  The  little  that  Spam  was  induced  to  do  was 
accomplished  by  Franklin  through  the  Count  de  Campomanes 
and  the  Count  d'Aranda.  But  the  only  substantial  aid  came 
from  France.  It  is  certain  that  the  Independence  of  America 
was  won  by  the  aid  of  France,  and  it  is  equally  certain  that 
Franklin  alone  obtained  or  could  obtain  that  aid.  He  turned 

1  Schweighauser  invested  30,000  livres  in  the  business.  Williams's  kinship 
to  Franklin  was  an  immense  benefit  to  the  business.  He  once  said  to  his 
uncle,  "  I  am  treated  here  with  as  much  respect,  as  if  I  were  the  nephew  of  a 


the  adulation  with  which  he  was  everywhere  greeted  into  a 
perpetual  benefit  to  his  country.1  He  appealed  again  and 
again  to  De  Vergennes  and  the  king  —  "the  most  amiable 
and  most  powerful  Prince  of  Europe"  —  to  save  American 
credit  by  additional  grants  of  money.  And  he  never  appealed 
in  vain.  After  the  financial  budgets  of  the  year  had  been 
made  up  and  closed,  applications  for  money  for  a  particular 
purpose  which  the  government  had  over  and  over  again  pro- 
vided for  and  furnished,  were  yet  once  more  favourably  heard,. 
and,  unwearied  by  the  large  and  importunate  demands,  other 
millions  were  released  from  the  almost  exhausted  treasury  of 

It  was  often  an  acute  humiliation  to  Franklin,  with  his 
lifelong  principles  and  practice  of  thrift  and  frugality,  to  beg 
for  loans  when  he  well  knew  that  the  French  purse  was  nearly 

His  correspondence  with  De  Vergennes  turns  chiefly  upon 
the  financial  needs  of  America.  Many  of  these  letters  have 
already  been  quoted.  The  mind  of  De  Vergennes  is  revealed 
in  the  following  letters  replying  to  Franklin's  petitions. 


Versailles,  November  26,  1780. 


I  have  received  the  letter,  which  you  did  me  the  honour  to 
write  me  on  the  iQth  instant,  and  with  it  the  resolutions  of 

1  The  story  is  told  that  at  a  dinner  of  beaux-esprits,  one  of  the  gentlemen, 
in  order  to  engage  Franklin  in  conversation,  said  to  him,  "  It  must  be  owned 
that  America  presents  at  this  time  a  grand  and  superb  spectacle."  "  Yes," 
answered  Franklin,  "  but  the  spectators  do  not  pay."  "  They  have  paid  since," 
said  Grimm,  commenting  upon  this  story.  See  "  Grimm's  Correspondence," 
Vol.  I,  p.  454  (1778). 


Congress,  ordering  drafts  upon  you  to  the  amount  of  about  one 
million  four  hundred  thousand  livres.  You  can  easily  im- 
agine my  astonishment  at  your  request  of  the  necessary  funds 
to  meet  these  drafts,  since  you  perfectly  well  know  the  ex- 
traordinary efforts,  which  I  have  made  thus  far  to  assist  you, 
and  to  support  your  credit;  and  especially  since  you  cannot 
have  forgotten  the  demands  you  lately  made  upon  me. 
Nevertheless,  Sir,  I  am  very  desirous  of  assisting  you  out  of  the 
embarrassed  situation  in  which  these  repeated  drafts  of  Con- 
gress have  placed  you ;  and  for  this  purpose  I  shall  endeavour 
to  procure  for  you,  for  the  next  year,  the  same  aid  that  I  have 
been  able  to  furnish  hi  the  course  of  the  present.  I  cannot 
but  believe,  Sir,  that  Congress  will  faithfully  abide  by  what 
it  now  promises  you,  that  in  future  no  drafts  shall  be  made 
upon  you,  unless  the  necessary  funds  are  sent  to  meet  them. 
I  have  the  honour  to  be,  Sir,  with  great  sincerity,  &c. 



Versailles,  31  December,  1781. 


I  have  received  the  letter  you  did  me  the  honour  to  write  me 
the  27th  instant.  I  shall  not  enter  into  an  examination  of  the 
successive  variations  and  augmentations  of  your  demands  on 
me  for  funds  to  meet  your  payments.  I  shall  merely  remark, 
that,  whenever  you  shall  consider  yourself  fully  authorized 
to  dispose  of  the  proceeds  of  the  Dutch  loan,  on  behalf  of 
Congress,  I  will  propose  to  M.  de  Fleury  to  supply  you  with 
the  million  required,  as  soon  as  it  shall  have  been  paid  into 
the  royal  treasury.  But  I  think  it  my  duty,  Sir,  to  inform  you, 
that,  if  Mr.  Morris  issues  drafts  on  this  same  million,  I  shall 


not  be  able  to  provide  for  the  payment  of  them,  and  shall 
leave  them  to  be  protested.  I  ought  also  to  inform  you,  that 
there  will  be  nothing  more  supplied  than  the  million  above 
mentioned;  and,  if  the  drafts,  which  you  have  already 
accepted,  exceed  that  sum,  it  must  be  for  you  to  contrive  the 
means  of  meeting  them.  I  shall  make  an  exception  only  in 
favour  of  those  of  Mr.  Morris,  provided  they  shall  not  exceed 
the  remainder  of  the  Dutch  loan,  after  deducting  the  million, 
which  shall  be  placed  at  your  disposal,  and  the  expenses  of 
the  loan.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  &c. 


Carmichael,  Lee,  Dana,  and  Adams  were  clamouring  for 
money,  and  every  post  brought  knowledge  of  fresh  drafts 
exciting  new  alarms. 

John  Adams  wrote  from  Leyden,  April  10,  1781. 

FROM  JOHN  ADAMS  TO   B.   FRANKLIN         (A.  P.  S.) 

Leyden,  April  loth,  1781. 

Relying  on  your  Virtues  and  Graces  of  Faith  and  Hope, 
I  accepted  the  Bills  to  the  amount  of  ten  thousand  Pounds 
Sterling  drawn  in  favour  of  Mr.  Tracy.  I  have  received 
advice  from  Congress  of  more  Bills  drawn  upon  me.  When 
they  arrive,  and  are  presented,  I  must  write  you  concerning 
them,  and  desire  you  to  enable  me  to  discharge  them;  for 
I  am  sorry  to  be  obliged  to  say,  that  although  I  have  opened 
a  Loan  according  to  the  best  Plan  I  could,  and  the  Plan  and 
the  Loan  seems  to  be  countenanced  by  the  Public,  yet  there 
is  little  Money  obtained,  scarcely  enough  to  defray  the 
Expence  of  Obligations  and  Stamps ;  and  it  is  more  and  more 
clear  to  me,  that  we  shall  never  obtain  a  Loan  here,  until  our 


Independence  is  acknowledged  by  the  States.  Till  then  every 
man  seems  to  be  afraid,  that  his  having  any  thing  to  do  in  it, 
will  be  made  a  foundation  of  a  criminal  Process,  or  a  Provoca- 
tion to  the  resentment  of  the  Mob. 

The  Time  is  very  near,  when  some  of  the  Bills  I  accepted 
become  payable.  I  must  intreat  your  Excellency's  answer 
to  this  as  soon  as  convenient,  and  to  point  out  to  me,  whether 
you  choose  that  the  House  of  Fitzeau  &  Grand  &  Co,  or 
any  other,  should  pay  the  Money.  It  is  a  most  grievous 
Mortification  to  me,  to  find  that  America  has  no  Credit  here, 
while  England  certainly  still  has  so  much ;  and  to  find  that  no 
Gentleman  in  public  Life  here  dare  return  me  a  Visit  or 
answer  me  a  Letter,  even  those  who  treated  me  when  I  first 
arrived  here  with  great  Politeness.  I  am  entreated,  however 
to  keep  this  secret,  but  have  no  Motive  to  secrete  it  from  you. 
On  the  contrary,  you  ought  to  know  it.  I  am  told  there  will 
be  great  alterations  very  soon ;  but  I  have  seen  by  Experience, 
that  no  man  in  this  Country  knows  what  will  be  in  the 

Let  me  ask  the  favour  of  you,  Sir,  to  give  my  best  Respects 
to  Coll.  Laurens  and  Mr.  Franklin.  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 
with  the  greatest  Respect,  Sir,  your  most  obedient  and  most 
humble  Servant 


William  Bingham,  United  States  agent  at  Martinique,  com- 
plained that  the  Navy  Board  instructed  commanders  of 
vessels  to  apply  to  him  for  supplies,  "When,  so  far  from 
having  Funds  belonging  to  the  Public  for  such  purposes 
Congress  is  indebted  to  me  by  their  last  audit  to  the  amount 
of  2,400,000  Livres,  currency  of  this  island."  Finding  his 


credit  ruined,  he  drew  upon  Franklin,  declaring  that  if 
the  notes  came  back  protested,  he  could  not  pay  his 

John  Adams  wrote  again,  November  7, 1781,  "If  the  loan  so 
long  expected  from  Holland  does  at  length  take  place,  as  I  am 
told  it  is  likely  to  do  my  embarras  will  I  hope  be  removed 
by  it.  If  not  I  must  scuffle  and  shift  as  I  can.  God  help  us 
all."  Adams  was  looking  to  Jean  de  Neufville,  the  banker, 
for  monetary  aid.  Franklin  suspected  that  there  was  little 
to  be  derived  from  that  source,  but  at  great  cost.  He  told 
Adams,  "His  professions  of  disinterestedness  with  regard  to 
his  shares  are  hi  my  opinion  deceitful,  and  I  think  that  the  less 
we  have  to  do  with  that  shark  the  better ;  his  jaws  are  too 
strong,  his  teeth  too  many,  and  his  appetite  immensely 

After  the  war  was  concluded  the  drafts  continued.  Laurens 
wrote  to  Franklin  (March  28,  1784) :  "I  am  weary  of  conjec- 
tures upon  this  business.  Is  there  a  worm  at  the  root  of  the 
hasty  grown  Gourd?  I  find  however  some  consolation  hi 
foreseeing  that  there  must  be  a  stop  to  the  evil,  and  hoping 
the  day  cannot  be  far  distant.  That  several  of  the  States  are 
to  blame  for  deficiencies  I  have  no  doubt,  but  according  to 
my  ideas  no  necessity  could  sanctify  continued  drafts  under 
a  moral  certainty  of  Dishonour.  Abundantly  more  prudent 
would  it  have  been  to  submit  to  every  Inconvenience  at  home. 
Creditors  then  would  have  worked  out  their  own  Salvation, 
and  People's  eyes  would  have  been  opened." 

The  following  resolutions,  transcribed  from  the  original 
document  in  the  French  Foreign  Office,  and  with  Franklin's 
"  note  "  appended  to  them,  show  the  desperate  straits  to 
which  he  was  driven  by  the  urgency  of  Congress. 



Sept.  14.  1782. 

That  a  Sum  not  exceeding  four  Millions  of  Dollars,  exclusive 
of  the  Money  which  Mr  Adams  may  obtain  by  the  Loan  now 
negociating  in  Holland,  be  borrowed  in  Europe  on  the 
Faith  of  the  United  States  of  America,  and  applied  towards 
defraying  the  Expences  which  shall  be  incurred,  and  of  those 
which  during  the  present  year  have  been  incurred,  for  carry- 
ing on  the  War. 


That  the  Superintendant  of  Finance  and  Secretary  for 
foreign  Affairs,  take  order  for  carrying  the  above  Resolution 
into  effect  transmitting  the  same  without  Delay  to  the  Ministers 
Plenipotentiary  of  these  United  States  at  the  Court  of  Ver- 
sailles, and  at  the  Hague. 


That  the  Minister  Plenipotentiary  of  these  United  States  at 
the  Court  of  Versailles  be  and  he  is  hereby  instructed  to 
communicate  the  foregoing  Resolution  to  his  most  Christian 
Majesty  and  to  assure  his  Majesty  of  the  high  sense  which 
the  United  States  in  Congress  assembled  entertain  of  his 
Friendship  and  generous  Exertions,  their  Reliance  on  a 
Continuance  of  them,  and  the  necessity  of  applying  to  his 
Majesty  on  the  present  Occasion.  And  the  said  Minister 
is  further  instructed  to  cooperate  with  the  Superintendant  of 
Finance  and  Secretary  for  foreign  affairs  in  the  most  effectual 
means  for  giving  success  to  the  said  Loan. 


September  23'?  1782 

That  the  Minister  Plenipotentiary  of  the  United  States  at 
the  Court  of  Versailles  be  informed,  that  his  Letters  to  the 
Superintendant  of  Finance  and  Secretary  for  foreign  affairs 
bearing  Date  respectively  the  twenty  fifth  day  of  June  last 
have  been  laid  before  Congress  and  that  notwithstanding  the 
Information  *  contained  in  those  Letters,  it  is  the  Direction 
of  Congress  that  he  use  his  utmost  Endeavours  to  effect  the 
Loan  which  by  the  Resolve  of  the  fourteenth  instant  is  ordered 

to  be  negociated. 


Extract  from  the  Minutes 

In  consequence  of  this  last  solicitation,  a  contract  was  made 
at  Versailles,  February  21,  1783,  by  De  Vergennesand  Frank- 
lin, from  which  I  quote  the  second  article  which  sums  up 
and  explains  the  various  loans  obtained  by  Franklin  from 
the  government  of  France. 

"ARTICLE  2*  For  better  understanding  the  fixing  of 
periods  for  the  reimbursement  of  the  six  millions  at  the  royal 
treasury,  and  to  prevent  all  ambiguity  on  this  head,  it  has  been 
found  proper  to  recapitulate  here  the  amount  of  the  preceding 
aids  granted  by  the  King  to  the  United  States,  and  to  dis- 
tinguish them  according  to  their  different  classes. 


The  information  here  alluded  to,  was  the  last  Loan  of  six  Millions,  was 
accompanied  with  the  most  explicit  Declarations  to  me,  that  no  more  was  to 
be  expected,  or  could  possibly  be  granted  ;  and  that  if  I  accepted  Bills  to  a 
greater  amount,  I  must  seek  elsewhere  for  the  Payment  of  them,  as  it  could 
not  be  furnish'd  here.  I  also  mentioned  all  the  particulars  of  the  King's 
Goodness  to  us  in  the  Contract  by  which  our  Debt  was  settled;  and  intreated 
that  I  might  not  be  forced  to  disoblige  so  kind  a  Friend  by  new  and  reit- 
erated Demands. 


"  The  first  is  composed  of  funds  lent  successively  by  his 
Majesty,  amounting  on  the  whole  to  the  sum  of  eighteen 
million  livres,  reimburseable  in  specie  at  the  Royal  Treasury 
in  twelve  equal  portions  of  a  million  five  hundred  thousand 
livres  each,  besides  the  Interest,  and  in  twelve  years,  to  com- 
mence from  the  third  year  after  the  date  of  the  peace;  the 
Interest  beginning  to  reckon  at  the  date  of  the  peace ;  to  be 
discharged  annually,  shall  diminish  in  proportion  to  the 
reimbursement  of  the  Capital,  the  last  payment  of  which  shall 
expire  in  the  Year  1798. 

"The  Second  Class  comprehends  the  loan  of  five  million 
Dutch  florins,  amounting  by  a  moderate  valuation  to  ten 
million  Livres  Tournois  the  said  Loan  made  in  Holland  in 
1781  for  the  Service  of  the  United  States  of  North  America, 
under  the  engagement  of  the  King  to  refund  the  Capital  with 
Interest  at  four  per  Cent  per  annum,  at  the  general  counter  of 
the  States  General  of  the  United  provinces  of  the  Netherlands 
in  ten  equal  portions,  reckoning  from  the  sixth  year  of  the 
date  of  said  loan,  and  under  the  like  engagement  on  the  part 
of  the  Minister  of  Congress  &  in  behalf  of  the  13  United  States, 
to  reimburse  the  Committee  of  said  Loan  in  ready  money 
at  the  royal  treasury,  with  Interest  at  four  per  Cent  per  Annum 
in  ten  equal  portions  of  a  million  each,  and  in  ten  periods  from 
Year  to  Year,  the  first  of  which  shall  take  place  in  the  month 
of  Nov*  1787  &  the  last  in  the  same  month  1796;  the  whole 
conformable  to  the  conditions  expressed  in  the  Contract  of 
I6'!1  of  July  1782. 

"In  the  third  class  are  comprehended  the  Aids  and  Subsidies 
furnished  to  the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  under  the  title 
of  gratuitous  assistance,  from  the  pure  generosity  of  the  King, 
three  millions  of  which  were  granted  before  the  treaty  of 


Feb?  1778  &  six  millions  in  1781,  which  aids  and  subsidies 
amount  in  the  whole  to  Nine  Million  Livres  Tournois.  His 
Majesty  here  confirms  in  case  of  need  the  gratuitous  gift  to 
the  Congress  of  the  said  thirteen  United  States." 

Almost  immediately  after  this  contract  had  been  made  and 
executed  fresh  demands  were  made.  Robert  Morris,  who 
was  continued  in  his  office  of  Superintendent  of  Finances, 
wrote  a  letter,  full  of  apologies,  in  which  he  said :  "  My  official 
Situation  compels  me  to  do  things  which  I  would  certainly 
avoid  under  any  other  Circumstances.  Nothing  should 
induce  me  in  my  private  Character  to  make  such  Applica- 
tions for  Money  as  I  am  obliged  to  in  my  public  Character." 
He  stated  that  the  army  expected  a  payment  of  $700,000,  and 
that  he  was  already  above  half  a  million  dollars  in  advance 
of  his  resources  by  paper  anticipation.  "I  must  increase 
the  Anticipation  immediately  to  pay  monies  due  on  the  Con- 
tracts for  feeding  our  Army  and  I  must  make  them  the  explicit 
payment  by  notes  to  be  discharged  at  a  distant  day.  These 
notes  would  have  to  be  paid,  or  credit  would  be  ruined." 

One  item  hi  the  contract  of  February  21, 1783,  was  to  cause 
much  annoyance  to  Franklin.  It  was  stated  therein  that 
three  million  livres  were  furnished  before  the  treaty  of  Febru- 
ary, 1778,  as  "gratuitous  assistance  from  the  pure  generosity 
of  the  King."  Mr.  Grand  the  banker,  hi  his  accounts,  cred- 
ited three  millions  received  prior  to  February,  1778,  but  he 
included  therein  a  million  received  from  the  farmers-general. 
The  question  was  pertinently  asked,  "What  became  of  the 
third  million  granted  by  the  king?"  Franklin  declared 
that  all  the  money  granted  by  the  king  was  paid  to  Mr. 
Grand.  It  therefore  appeared  that  the  million  said  to  have 


been  paid  by  the  farmers-general  was  "a  gratuitous  assistance 
from  the  pure  generosity  of  the  King,"  and  that  the  farmers- 
general  were  indebted  to  the  United  States  for  the  amount 
of  the  tobacco  remitted  to  them. 

An  explanation  of  when  and  to  whom  the  third  million 
was  paid  was  demanded.  Mr.  Grand  applied  to  Durival  to 
trace  the  lost  million.  The  result  of  the  inquiry  is  contained 
in  the  following  correspondence. 


Versailles,  30  August,  1786. 


I  have  received  the  letter,  which  you  did  me  the  honour 
to  write  on  the  28th  of  this  month,  touching  the  advance  of  a 
million,  which  you  say  was  made  by  the  Farmers- General  to 
the  United  States  of  America,  the  3d  of  June,  1777.  I  have 
no  knowledge  of  that  advance.  What  I  have  verified  is,  that 
the  King,  by  the  contract  of  the  2$th  of  February,  1783,  has 
confirmed  the  gratuitous  gift,  which  his  Majesty  had  previ- 
ously made,  of  the  three  millions  hereafter  mentioned,  viz. 
one  million  delivered  by  the  Royal  Treasury,  the  loth  of  June, 
1776,  and  two  other  millions  advanced  also  by  the  Royal 
Treasury,  hi  1777,  on  four  receipts  of  the  Deputies  of  Con- 
gress, of  the  1 7th  of  January,  3d  of  April,  loth  of  June,  and 
1 5th  of  October,  of  the  same  year.  This  explanation  will, 
Sir,  I  hope,  resolve  your  doubt  touching  the  advance  of  the 
3d  of  June,  1777.  I  further  recommend  to  you,  Sir,  to  confer 
on  this  subject  with  M.  Gojard,  who  ought  to  be  better  in- 
formed than  we,  who  had  no  knowledge  of  any  advances, 
but  those  made  by  the  Royal  Treasury.  I  have  the  honour 

to  be,  &c. 


VOL.  X  —  2C 



Versailles,  5  September,  1786. 


I  laid  before  the  Count  de  Vergennes  the  two  letters  which 
you  did  me  the  honour  to  write,  touching  the  three  millions, 
the  free  gift  of  which  the  King  has  confirmed  in  favour  of  the 
United  States  of  America.  The  minister,  Sir,  observed,  that 
this  gift  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  million,  which  the  Con- 
gress may  have  received  from  the  Farmers- General  in  1777; 
consequently  he  thinks,  that  the  receipt,  which  you  desire 
may  be  communicated  to  you,  cannot  satisfy  the  object  of 
your  view,  and  that  it  would  be  useless  to  give  you  the  copy 
which  you  desire.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  with  perfect 

attachment,  &c. 



Paris,  9  September,  1786. 

The  letter  you  honoured  me  with,  covered  the  copies  of 
three  letters,  which  Mr.  Thomson  wrote  you  in  order  to  obtain 
an  explanation  of  a  million,  which  is  not  to  be  found  in  my 
accounts.  I  should  have  been  very  much  embarrassed  in 
satisfying  and  proving  to  him,  that  I  had  not  put  that  million 
in  my  pocket,  had  I  not  applied  to  M.  Durival,  who,  as  you 
will  see  by  the  answer  enclosed,  informs  me,  that  there  was  a 
million  paid  by  the  Royal  Treasury,  on  the  loth  of  June,  1776. 
This  is  the  very  million  about  which  Mr.  Thomson  inquires, 
as  I  have  kept  an  account  of  the  other  two  millions,  which 
were  also  furnished  by  the  Royal  Treasury,  viz.  the  one 
million  in  January  and  April,  1777,  the  other  in  July  and 


October  of  the  same  year,  as  well  as  that  furnished  by  the 
Fanners- General  in  June,  1777. 

Here,  then,  are  the  three  millions  exactly,  which  were  given 
by  the  King  before  the  treaty  of  1778,  and  that  furnished  by 
the  Farmers- General.  Nothing  then  remains  to  be  known, 
but  who  received  the  first  million  in  June,  1776.  It  could  not 
be  myself,  as  I  was  not  charged  with  the  business  of  Congress 
until  January,  1777.  I  therefore  requested  of  M.  Durival 
a  copy  of  the  receipt  for  the  one  million.  You  have  the 
answer,  which  he  returned  to  me.  I  have  written  to  him 
again,  renewing  my  request;  but,  as  the  courier  is  just 
setting  off,  I  cannot  wait  to  give  you  his  answer,  but 
you  will  receive  it  in  my  next,  if  I  obtain  one.  In  the 
mean  while,  I  beg  you  will  receive  the  assurances  of 
the  sentiments  of  respect,  with  which  I  have  the  honour 
to  be,  my  dear  Sir,  &c. 



Versailles,  10  September,  1786. 


I  have  laid  before  the  Count  de  Vergennes,  as  you  seemed 
to  desire,  the  letter  which  you  did  me  the  honour  to  write 
yesterday.  The  minister  persists  in  the  opinion,  that  the 
receipt,  the  copy  of  which  you  request,  has  no  relation  to  the 
business  with  which  you  were  intrusted  on  behalf  of  Congress, 
and  that  this  document  would  be  useless  in  the  new  point  of 
view  in  which  you  have  placed  it.  Indeed,  Sir,  it  is  easy  for 
you  to  prove,  that  the  money  in  question  was  not  delivered 
by  the  Royal  Treasury  into  your  hands,  as  you  did  not  begin 
to  be  charged  with  the  business  of  Congress  until  January, 


1777,  and  the  receipt  for  that  money  is  of  the  roth  of  June, 
1776.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  with  perfect  attachment,  Sir, 
&c.  DURIVAL. 

FROM   MR.    GRAND   TO   B.   FRANKLIN  (L.  C.) 

Paris,  12  September,  1786. 


I  hazard  a  letter  in  hopes  it  may  be  able  to  join  that  of  the 
Qth  at  L'Orient,  in  order  to  forward  to  you  the  answer  I  have 
just  received  from  M.  Durival.  You  will  there  see,  that, 
notwithstanding  my  entreaty,  the  minister  himself  refuses  to 
give  me  a  copy  of  the  receipt  which  I  asked  for.  I  cannot 
conceive  the  reason  for  this  reserve,  more  especially  since,  if 
there  has  been  a  million  paid,  he  who  has  received  it  has  kept 
the  account,  and  it  must  in  time  be  known.  I  shall  hear  with 
pleasure,  that  you  have  been  more  fortunate  in  this  respect 
in  America  than  I  have  been  in  France ;  and  I  repeat  to  you 
the  assurance  of  the  sentiments  of  regard,  with  which  I  have 
the  honour  to  be,  &c.  GRAND. 

Little  more  has  been  learned  since  this  correspondence 
concerning  the  history  of  the  lost  million.  It  has  been  traced 
to  the  door  of  Beaumarchais's  bank.  Beyond  that  point  all 
knowledge  of  it  ceases. 



AFTER  Cornwallis  had  been  burgoinised,  as  the  French  then 
said,  and  the  infant  Hercules  had  strangled  the  second  serpent 
in  his  cradle,  the  English  government  made  overtures  of 


peace.  It  was  the  aim  of  their  diplomacy  to  divide  America 
and  France.  David  Hartley  wrote  to  Franklin  that  he  under- 
stood that  America  was  disposed  to  enter  into  a  separate 
treaty  with  Great  Britain.  Franklin  replied,  "This  has  al- 
ways given  me  more  disgust  than  my  friendship  permits  me 
to  express.  I  believe  there  is  not  a  man  in  America  —  a  few 
English  Tories  excepted  —  that  would  not  spurn  at  the 
thought  of  deserting  a  noble  and  generous  friend  for  the  sake 
of  a  truce  with  an  unjust  and  cruel  enemy.  .  .  .  The  Con- 
gress will  never  instruct  their  Commissioners  to  obtain  a 
peace  on  such  ignominious  terms,  and  though  there  can  be 
but  few  things  in  which  I  should  venture  to  disobey  their 
orders,  yet  if  it  were  possible  for  them  to  give  such  an  order 
as  this  I  should  certainly  refuse  to  act.  I  should  instantly 
renounce  their  Commission  and  banish  myself  forever  from 
so  infamous  a  country." 

To  the  amazement  of  Versailles  the  preliminary  articles  of 
the  treaty  of  peace  between  England  and  the  United  States 
were  concluded  without  any  communication  between  the 
commissioners  and  the  court  of  France,  although  the 
instructions  from  Congress  prescribed  that  nothing  should 
be  done  without  the  participation  of  the  king.  De  Vergennes 
wrote  sharply  and  surprisedly  to  Franklin,  saying,  "  You  are 
wise  and  discreet,  Sir :  you  perfectly  understand  what  is  due 
to  propriety :  you  have  all  your  life  performed  your  duties. 
I  pray  you  to  consider  how  you  propose  to  fulfil  those  which 
are  due  to  the  King?  I  am  not  desirous  of  enlarging  these 
reflections;  I  commit  them  to  your  own  integrity.1  In 
reply  Franklin  confessed  to  "neglecting  a  point  of  bienseance" 
but  insisted  that  nothing  had  been  agreed  upon  that  was 
1  See  Franklin's  answer,  Vol.  VIII,  p.  642. 


contrary  to  the  interests  of  France ;  and  that  no  peace  was  to 
take  place  between  America  and  England  until  the  terms  of 
the  treaty  with  France  had  been  concluded. 

Franklin's  conduct  in  this  affair  has  been  variously  con- 
demned and  excused.  He  desired  De  Vergennes  to  keep  the 
"little  misunderstanding"  secret,  for  he  understood  that  the 
English  already  flattered  themselves  that  they  had  divided 
the  United  States  and  her  ally.  The  French  minister,  however, 
consigned  a  copy  of  the  preliminary  articles  to  M.  de  la  Lu- 
zeme,  then  minister  of  France  in  the  United  States,  and  said 
that  he  thought  it  proper  that  the  very  irregular  conduct  of 
the  commissioners  should  be  brought  to  the  knowledge  of 
Congress.  Luzerne's  representations  to  Congress  almost 
resulted  in  the  abrupt  recall  of  Franklin  and  his  colleagues. 


Versailles,  19  December,  1782. 


With  this  letter  I  have  the  honour  to  send  you  a  translation 
of  the  preliminary  articles,  which  the  American  Plenipoten- 
tiaries have  agreed  to  and  signed  with  those  of  Great  Britain, 
to  be  made  into  a  treaty  when  the  terms  of  peace  between 
France  and  England  shall  be  settled. 

You  will  surely  be  gratified,  as  well  as  myself,  with  the  very 
extensive  advantages,  which  our  allies,  the  Americans,  are 
to  receive  from  the  peace ;  but  you  certainly  will  not  be  less 
surprised  than  I  have  been,  at  the  conduct  of  the  Commis- 
sioners. According  to  the  instructions  of  Congress,  they 
ought  to  have  done  nothing  without  our  participation.  I 
have  informed  you,  that  the  King  did  not  seek  to  influence 
the  negotiation  any  further  than  his  offices  might  be  neces- 


sary  to  his  friends.  The  American  Commissioners  will  not 
say,  that  I  have  interfered,  and  much  less  that  I  have  wearied 
them  with  my  curiosity.  They  have  cautiously  kept  them- 
selves at  a  distance  from  me.  Mr.  Adams,  one  of  them,  com- 
ing from  Holland,  where  he  had  been  received  and  served  by 
our  ambassador,  had  been  in  Paris  nearly  three  weeks,  with- 
out imagining  that  he  owed  me  any  mark  of  attention,  and 
probably  I  should  not  have  seen  him  till  this  time  if  I  had 
not  caused  him  to  be  reminded  of  it.  Whenever  I  have  had 
occasion  to  see  any  one  of  them,  and  inquire  of  them  briefly 
respecting  the  progress  of  the  negotiation,  they  have  constantly 
clothed  their  speech  in  generalities,  giving  me  to  understand, 
that  it  did  not  go  forward,  and  that  they  had  no  confidence  in 
the  sincerity  of  the  British  ministry. 

Judge  of  my  surprise,  when,  on  the  3Oth  of  November, 
Dr.  Franklin  informed  me  that  the  articles  were  signed. 
The  reservation  retained  on  our  account  does  not  save  the 
infraction  of  the  promise,  which  we  have  mutually  made,  not 
to  sign  except  conjointly.  I  owe  Dr.  Franklin  the  justice  to 
state,  however,  that  on  the  next  day  he  sent  me  a  copy  of  the 
articles.  He  will  hardly  complain,  that  I  received  them  with- 
out demonstrations  of  sensibility.  It  was  not  till  some  days 
after,  that,  when  this  minister  had  come  to  see  me,  I  allowed 
myself  to  make  him  perceive  that  his  proceeding  in  this  abrupt 
signature  of  the  articles  had  little  in  it,  which  could  be  agree- 
able to  the  King.  He  appeared  sensible  of  it,  and  excused, 
hi  the  best  manner  he  could,  himself  and  his  colleagues.  Our 
conversation  was  amicable. 

Dr.  Franklin  spoke  to  me  of  his  desire  to  send  these  articles 
to  the  Congress,  and  said,  that  for  this  purpose  he  and  his 
colleagues  had  agreed  to  an  exchange  of  passports  with  the 


English  minister,  for  the  safety  of  the  vessels  which  should  be 
sent.  I  observed  to  him,  that  this  form  appeared  to  me  dan- 
gerous ;  that,  the  articles  being  only  provisional  and  dependent 
on  the  fate  of  our  negotiation,  which  was  then  very  uncertain, 
I  feared  this  appearance  of  an  intelligence  with  England,  in 
connexion  with  the  signature  of  the  articles,  might  make 
the  people  in  America  think  a  peace  was  consummated,  and 
embarrass  Congress,  of  whose  fidelity  I  had  no  suspicion.  I 
added  many  other  reasons,  the  force  of  which  Dr.  Franklin, 
and  Mr.  Laurens  who  accompanied  him,  seemed  to  acknow- 
ledge. They  spared  nothing  to  convince  me  of  the  confidence, 
which  we  ought  to  have  hi  the  fidelity  of  the  United  States, 
and  they  left  me  with  the  assurance,  that  they  should  conform 
to  my  wishes. 

You  may  imagine  my  astonishment,  therefore,  when,  on 
the  evening  of  the  i5th,  I  received  from  Dr.  Franklin  the  letter, 
a  copy  of  which  is  herewith  enclosed.  The  tone  of  this  letter 
seemed  to  me  so  singular,  that  I  thought  it  my  duty  to  write 
the  answer,  which  I  likewise  send  to  you.  I  am  ignorant  of 
the  effect,  which  this  answer  may  have  produced.  I  have  not 
since  heard  from  the  American  Commissioners.  The  courier 
has  not  come  for  my  despatches,  and  I  know  not  whether  he 
has  in  reality  been  sent  off.  It  would  be  singular,  after  the 
intimation  which  I  have  given  them,  if  they  should  not  have 
the  curiosity  to  acquaint  themselves  with  the  state  of  our 
negotiation,  that  they  may  communicate  the  intelligence  to 
Congress.  This  negotiation  is  not  yet  so  far  advanced  in 
regard  to  ourselves,  as  that  of  the  United  States ;  not  that  the 
King,  if  he  had  shown  as  little  delicacy  hi  his  proceedings  as 
the  American  Commissioners,  might  not  have  signed  articles 
with  England  long  before  them.  There  is  no  essential  diffi- 


culty  at  present  between  France  and  England ;  but  the  King 
has  been  resolved  that  all  his  allies  should  be  satisfied,  being 
determined  to  continue  the  war,  whatever  advantage  may  be 
offered  to  him,  if  England  is  disposed  to  wrong  anyone  of  them. 

We  have  now  only  to  attend  to  the  interests  of  Spain  and 
Holland.  I  have  reason  to  hope,  that  the  former  will  be 
soon  arranged.  The  fundamental  points  are  established,  and 
little  remains  but  to  settle  the  forms.  I  think  the  United 
States  will  do  well  to  make  an  arrangement  with  Spain.  They 
will  be  neighbours.  As  to  Holland,  I  fear  her  affairs  will 
cause  embarrassments  and  delays.  The  disposition  of  the 
British  ministry  towards  that  republic  appears  to  be  any  thing 
but  favourable. 

Such  is  the  present  state  of  things.  I  trust  it  will  soon  be 
better ;  but,  whatever  may  be  the  result,  I  think  it  proper  that 
the  most  influential  members  of  Congress  should  be  informed 
of  the  very  irregular  conduct  of  their  Commissioners  in  regard 
to  us.  You  may  speak  of  it  not  in  the  tone  of  complaint.  I 
accuse  no  person;  I  blame  no  one,  not  even  Dr.  Franklin. 
He  has  yielded  too  easily  to  the  bias  of  his  colleagues,  who 
do  not  pretend  to  recognise  the  rules  of  courtesy  hi  regard  to 
us.  All  their  attentions  have  been  taken  up  by  the  English, 
whom  they  have  met  in  Paris.  If  we  may  judge  of  the  future 
from  what  has  passed  here  under  our  eyes,  we  shall  be  but 
poorly  paid  for  all  that  we  have  done  for  the  United  States, 
and  for  securing  to  them  a  national  existence. 

I  will  add  nothing,  hi  respect  to  the  demand  for  money, 
which  has  been  made  upon  us.  You  may  well  judge,  if 
conduct  like  this  encourages  us  to  make  demonstrations  of 
our  liberality.  I  am,  &c. 




Versailles,  25  December,  1782. 


I  have  the  honour  to  send  you  my  despatches  for  the 
Chevalier  de  la  Luzerne.  The  packet  is  voluminous,  but  it 
contains  many  duplicates. 

I  should  be  glad  if  it  were  in  my  power  to  inform  him,  that 
our  treaty  is  in  as  good  progress  as  yours,  but  this  is  far 
from  being  the  case.  I  cannot  even  foresee  what  will  be 
the  issue,  for  difficulties  multiply.  It  will  be  well  for  you  to 
forewarn  the  Congress  to  be  prepared  for  whatever  event  may 
arise.  I  do  not  despair;  I  rather  hope;  but  as  yet  all  is 
uncertainty.  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  Sir,  &c. 


Why  did  Franklin  sully  his  reputation  in  France  at  the 
end  of  his  diplomatic  career?  Why  did  he  consent  to  the 
wish  of  his  colleagues  to  ignore  the  instructions  of  Congress  ? 
He  must  not  be  too  severely  judged.  The  occasion  was  one 
of  great  moment.  Vast  consequences  depended  upon  the 
deliberations  of  the  Peace  Commissioners.  John  Adams 
was  stubborn,  prejudiced,  implacable.  John  Jay  was 
suspicious,  and,  where  the  French  character  was  concerned, 
misinformed  and  mistrustful.  John  Adams  wrote  hi  his  diary : 
"Mr.  Jay  likes  Frenchmen  as  little  as  Mr.  Lee  and  Mr. 
Izard  did.  He  says  they  are  not  a  moral  people ;  they  know 
not  what  it  is;  he  don't  like  any  Frenchman;  the  Marquis 
de  Lafayette  is  clever,  but  he  is  a  Frenchman."  The  Eng- 
lish envoys  debated  earnestly  the  questions  of  the  fisheries 
and  compensation  to  the  Loyalists.  When  these  important 


concessions  were  made  and  the  American  commissioners  got 
all  that  they  had  contended  for,  there  was  an  irresistible  desire 
to  have  the  treaty  signed  and  peace  secured.  It  is  just  possible, 
too,  that  Jay  and  Franklin  knew  of  the  existence  of  a  secret 
treaty  between  France  and  Spain  in  accordance  with  which 
peace  with  England  was  to  depend  upon  her  restitution  of 
Gibraltar  to  Spain,  and  the  abolition  of  the  treaties  relating 
to  the  fortifications  of  Dunkirk. 

The  first  step  in  the  negotiations  for  peace  was  taken  when 
Franklin  wrote  to  his  friend,  Lord  Shelburne,  March  22, 1782, 
congratulating  him  upon  the  triumph  of  the  Whigs  in  the 
House  of  Commons,  expressing  the  hope  that  it  would  be 
productive  of  a  "general  peace,"  and  in  the  same  breath 
telling  him  that  Madame  Helve'tius  had  been  made  very 
happy  by  receiving  in  good  order  some  gooseberry  bushes 
which  his  Lordship  had  sent  her.  Shelburne  became  secretary 
of  state  for  the  northern  department,  including  America; 
Charles  James  Fox  was  secretary  for  the  southern  department, 
which  included  France.  Shelburne  and  Fox  belonged  to 
opposing  factions  of  the  Whig  party,  and  were  not  likely  to 
act  in  concert  when  one  by  virtue  of  his  office  could  deal  with 
De  Vergennes  only,  and  the  other  was  limited  by  his  office 
to  negotiations  with  Franklin  only.  The  first  envoy  to  appear 
in  Paris  was  Richard  Oswald,  a  very  honest  Scot,  who  pre- 
sented to  Franklin  letters  from  Shelburne  and  Henry  Laurens. 
"He  is  fully  apprised  of  my  mind,"  wrote  Shelburne,  "and 
you  may  give  full  credit  to  everything  he  assures  you  of." 
From  him  Franklin  learned  that  the  new  Ministry  earnestly 
desired  peace,  and  was  willing  to  recognize  the  independence 
of  America.  Upon  the  i8th  of  April,  Franklin,  Oswald, 
and  De  Vergennes  met,  and  in  a  prolonged  interview  Oswald 


was  assured  that  France  could  not  treat  without  the  con- 
currence of  her  allies,  and  that  the  United  States  would  not 
treat  but  in  concert  with  France.  Franklin  has  set  forth  with 
minute  care  the  history  of  the  proceedings  that  followed  in 
his  "Journal  of  the  Negotiations  for  Peace  with  Great 
Britain"  (see  Vol.  VIII,  pp.  459-560).  Mr.  Oswald  was  an 
old  and  valued  friend  of  Mr.  Laurens ;  his  secretary,  Caleb 
Whitefoord,  was  a  close  friend  of  Franklin,  whose  intimacy, 
he  said,  has  been  "the  Pride  and  Happiness  of  my  Life." 
Whitefoord  had  long  been  a  sincere  well-wisher  to  America, 
and  no  one  lamented  more  the  unhappy  quarrel  between  the 
colonies  and  the  parent  state.1  Among  his  papers,  now  in  the 
British  Museum,  is  the  following  manuscript  note  concerning 
the  Treaty  of  Peace. 

"  First  time  of  dining  at  Dr.  F's Mons* asked  me 

if  I  thought  we  should  soon  have  Peace  —  I  said,  I  could  not 
speak  for  authority,  but  I  believed  that  would  depend  on  the 
moderation  of  the  French  Ministers  and  on  their  proposing 
equitable  Terms,  that  if  they  insisted  on  any  articles  disgrace- 
ful to  Great  Britain,  that  the  People  would  rather  spend  their 
last  shilling  than  submit  to  them.  Monsr  replied  that  the 
Ministers  profess'd  as  great  moderation  as  could  be  desired. 
That  France  had  nothing  to  ask  for  herself ;  she  had  gain'd 
the  objects  for  which  she  took  up  Arms,  viz.  the  Indepen- 
dance  of  her  American  allies  and  the  Freedom  of  Navigation. 
She  had  acquired  Glory  &  was  not  desirous  of  acquiring 
Territory  especially  at  so  great  Distance.  That  she  had 

1  Whitefoord  presented  to  the  Royal  Society  a  portrait  of  Franklin  by 
Wright,  to  whom  VTiitefoord  gave  the  commission  in  1782.  On  the  day  that 
he  received  from  the  Royal  Society  a  letter  of  thanks  for  his  gift  he  received 
notice  of  his  election  to  membership  in  The  American  Philosophical  Society. 


Empire  enough;  these  he  believed  were  the  sentiments  of 
the  French  Ministers,  but  as  to  their  Allies,  he  did  not  know 
what  they  might  ask.  He  talk'd  of  the  bad  Policy  of  going  to 
War  with  our  Colonies.  I  told  him  I  was  not  the  Minister. 
He  said  the  last  Peace  we  made  was  a  very  bad  one,  I  replied 
I  thought  it  was  too  good.  He  talked  of  the  growing  greatness 
of  America;  &  that  the  thirteen  United  States  would  form 
the  greatest  Empire  in  the  World.  —  Yes  sir,  I  replied  & 
they  will  all  speak  English,  every  one  of  'em.  His  Triumph 
was  check'd,  he  understood  what  was  intended  to  be  con- 
vey'd,  viz.  that  from  a  similarity  of  Language  Manners  and 
Religion  that  great  Empire  would  be  English  not  French." 

On  Wednesday,  September  3,  1783,  the  definitive  treaty 
was  signed  at  David  Hartley's  apartments  at  theHdtel  de 
York,  in  Paris.  On  the  same  day  the  treaty  between  Eng- 
land and  France  was  signed  at  Versailles. 

Franklin  despatched  one  week  later  the  following  letter 
to  the  President  of  Congress. 


Passy,  September  10, 1783 

SIR:  — 

On  the  3d  instant  definitive  treaties  of  peace  were  con- 
cluded between  all  the  late  belligerent  powers,  except  the 
Dutch,  who,  the  day  before,  settled  and  signed  preliminary 
articles  of  peace  with  Britain. 

We  most  sincerely  and  cordially  congratulate  Congress 
and  our  country  in  general  on  this  happy  event,  and  we 
hope  that  the  same  kind  Providence  which  has  led  us  through 
a  rigorous  war  to  an  honourable  peace  will  enable  us  to  make 
a  wise  and  moderate  use  of  that  inestimable  blessing. 


We  have  committed  a  duplicate  original  of  the  treaty  to 
the  care  of  Mr.  Thaxter,  who  will  go  immediately  to  L'Orient, 
whence  he  will  sail  in  the  French  packet  to  New  York.  That 
gentleman  left  America  with  Mr.  Adams  as  his  private 
secretary,  and  his  conduct  having  been  perfectly  satisfactory 
to  that  minister,  we  join  in  recommending  him  to  the  atten- 
tion of  Congress.  We  have  ordered  Mr.  Grand  to  pay  him 
one  hundred  and  thirty  louis  d'ors,  on  account  of  the  reason- 
able expenses  to  be  incurred  by  his  mission  to  Congress,  and 
his  journey  from  thence  to  his  family  at  Hingham,  in  the 
Massachusetts  Bay ;  for  the  disposition  of  this  money  he  is  to 

The  definitive  treaty  being  in  the  terms  of  the  provisional 
articles,  and  not  comprehending  any  of  the  objects  of  our 
subsequent  negotiations,  it  is  proper  that  we  give  a  summary 
account  of  them. 

When  Mr.  Hartley  arrived  here,  he  brought  with  him  only 
a  set  of  instructions  signed  by  the  king.  We  objected  to 
proceeding  with  him  until  he  should  have  a  commission  in 
form.  This  occasioned  some  delay;  a  proper  commission 
was,  however,  transmitted  to  him,  a  copy  of  which  was  shortly 
after  sent  to  Mr.  Livingston. 

We  having  been  instructed  to  obtain  if  possible  an  article 
for  a  direct  trade  to  the  West  Indies,  made  to  Mr.  Hartley 
the  proposition  No.  i. 

He  approved  of  it  greatly,  and  recommended  it  to  his 
court,  but  they  declined  assenting  to  it. 

Mr.  Hartley  then  made  us  the  proposition  No.  2,  on 
being  asked  whether  he  was  authorized  to  sign  it  hi  case  we 
agreed  to  it,  he  answered  in  the  negative.  We  therefore 
thought  it  improper  to  proceed  to  the  consideration  of  it 


until  after  he  should  have  obtained  the  consent  of  his  court 
to  it.  We  also  desired  to  be  informed  whether  his  court 
would  or  would  not  comprehend  Ireland  in  their  stipula- 
tions with  us. 

The  British  cabinet  would  not  adopt  Mr.  Hartley's  propo- 
sitions, but  their  letters  to  him  were  calculated  to  inspire 
us  with  expectation  that,  as  nothing  but  particular  local  cir- 
cumstances, which  would  probably  not  be  of  long  duration, 
restrained  them  from  preferring  the  most  liberal  system  of 
commerce  with  us,  the  ministry  would  take  the  earliest  op- 
portunity of  gratifying  their  own  wishes  as  well  as  ours  on 
that  subject. 

Mr.  Hartley  then  made  us  the  proposition  No.  3.  At  this 
time  we  were  informed  that  letters  for  us  had  arrived  in 
France  from  Philadelphia.  We  expected  to  receive  instruc- 
tions in  them,  and  told  Mr.  Hartley  that  this  expectation 
induced  us  to  postpone  giving  him  an  answer  for  a  few  days. 

The  vessel  by  which  we  expected  to  receive  those  letters, 
it  seems,  had  not  brought  any  for  us ;  but,  at  that  time,  in- 
formation arrived  from  America  that  our  ports  were  all 
opened  to  the  British  vessels.  Mr.  Hartley,  therefore,  did 
not  think  himself  at  liberty  to  proceed  until  after  he  should 
communicate  that  intelligence  to  his  court  and  receive  their 
further  instructions. 

Those  further  instructions  never  came,  and  thus  our  en- 
deavours as  to  commercial  regulations  proved  fruitless.  We 
had  many  conferences,  and  received  long  memorials  from 
Mr.  Hartley  on  the  subject,  but  his  zeal  for  systems  friendly 
to  us  constantly  exceeded  his  authority  to  concert  and  agree 
to  them. 

During  the  long  interval  of  his  expecting  instructions,  for 


his  expectations  were  permitted  to  exist  almost  to  the  last, 
we  proceeded  to  make  and  receive  propositions  for  perfect- 
ing the  definitive  treaty.  Details  of  all  the  amendments, 
alterations,  objections,  exceptions,  etc.,  which  occurred  in 
these  discussions,  would  be  voluminous.  We  finally  agreed 
that  he  should  send  to  his  court  the  project  or  draft  of  a 
treaty  No.  4.  He  did  so,  but  after  much  time,  and  when 
pressed  by  France,  who  insisted  that  we  should  all  conclude 
together,  he  was  instructed  to  sign  a  definitive  treaty  in  the 
terms  of  the  provisional  articles. 

Whether  the  British  court  meant  to  avoid  a  definitive 
treaty  with  us  through  a  vain  hope  from  the  exaggerated 
accounts  of  divisions  among  our  own  people,  and  want  of 
authority  in  Congress  that  some  resolution  might  soon  hap- 
pen in  their  favour,  or  whether  their  dilatory  conduct  was 
caused  by  the  strife  of  the  two  opposite  and  nearly  equal 
parties  in  the  cabinet,  is  hard  to  decide. 

Your  Excellency  will  observe  that  the  treaty  was  signed  at 
Paris,  and  not  at  Versailles.  Mr.  Hartley's  letter  No.  5  and 
our  answer  No.  6  will  explain  this.  His  objections,  and  in- 
deed our  proceedings  in  general,  were  communicated  to  the 
French  minister,  who  was  content  that  we  should  acquiesce, 
but  desired  that  we  would  appoint  the  signing  early  in  the 
morning,  and  give  him  an  account  of  it  at  Versailles  by  ex- 
press, for  that  he  would  not  proceed  to  sign  on  the  part  of 
France  till  he  was  sure  that  our  business  was  done. 

The  day  after  the  signature  of  the  treaty  Mr.  Hartley 
wrote  us  a  congratulatory  letter  No.  7,  to  which  we  returned 
the  answer  No.  8. 

He  is  gone  to  England,  and  expects  soon  to  return,  which 
for  our  part  we  think  uncertain.  We  have  taken  care  to 


speak  to  him  in  strong  terms  on  the  subject  of  the  evacua- 
tion of  New  York  and  the  other  important  subjects  proper 
to  be  mentioned  to  him.  We  think  we  may  rely  on  his  doing 
every  thing  in  his  power  to  influence  his  court  to  do  what 
they  ought  to  do ;  but  it  does  not  appear  that  they  have  as 
yet  formed  any  settled  system  for  their  conduct  relative  to 
the  United  States.  We  cannot  but  think  that  the  late  and 
present  aspect  of  affairs  in  America  has  had,  and  continues 
to  have,  an  unfavourable  influence,  not  only  in  Britain,  but 
throughout  Europe. 

In  whatever  light  the  article  respecting  the  Tories  may  be 
viewed  in  America,  it  is  considered  in  Europe  as  very  humiliat- 
ing to  Britain,  and  therefore  as  being  one  which  we  ought  in 
honour  to  perform  and  fulfil  with  the  most  scrupulous  regard 
to  good  faith  and  in  a  manner  least  offensive  to  the  feelings 
of  the  king  and  court  of  Great  Britain,  who  upon  that  point 
are  extremely  tender. 

The  unseasonable  and  unnecessary  resolves  of  various 
towns  on  this  subject,  the  actual  expulsion  of  Tories  from 
some  places,  and  the  avowed  implacability  of  almost  all  who 
have  published  their  sentiments  about  the  matter,  are  cir- 
cumstances which  are  construed,  not  only  to  the  prejudice 
of  our  national  magnanimity  and  good  faith,  but  also  to  the 
prejudice  of  our  governments. 

Popular  committees  are  considered  here,  as  with  us,  in 
the  light  of  substitutes  to  constitutional  government,  and  as 
being  only  necessary  in  the  interval  between  the  removal  of 
the  former  and  the  establishment  of  the  present. 

The  Constitutions  of  the  different  States  have  been  trans- 
lated and  published,  and  pains  have  been  taken  to  lead 
Europe  to  believe  that  the  American  States  not  only  made 

VOL.  X  —  2  D 


their  own  laws,  but  obeyed  them;  but  the  continuance  of 
popular  assemblies,  convened  expressly  to  deliberate  on 
matters  proper  only  for  the  cognizance  of  the  different  legis- 
latures and  officers  of  government,  and  their  proceeding  not 
only  to  ordain,  but  to  enforce  their  resolutions,  has  exceedingly 
lessened  the  dignity  of  the  States  in  the  eyes  of  these  nations. 

To  this  we  may  also  add  that  the  situation  of  the  army, 
the  reluctance  of  the  people  to  pay  taxes,  and  the  circum- 
stances under  which  Congress  removed  from  Philadelphia 
have  diminished  the  admiration  in  which  the  people  of 
America  were  held  among  the  nations  of  Europe,  and  some- 
what abated  their  ardour  for  forming  connections  with  us 
before  our  affairs  acquire  a  greater  degree  of  order  and 

Permit  us  to  observe  that  in  our  opinion  the  recommenda- 
tion of  Congress  promised  in  the  fifth  article  should  im- 
mediately be  made  on  the  terms  of  it  and  published,  and  that 
the  States  should  be  requested  to  take  it  into  consideration 
as  soon  as  the  evacuation  of  the  enemy  shall  be  completed. 
It  is  also  much  to  be  wished  that  the  legislatures  may  not 
involve  all  the  Tories  in  banishment  and  ruin ;  but  that  such 
discriminations  may  be  made  as  to  entitle  their  decisions 
to  the  approbation  of  disinterested  men  and  dispassionate 

On  the  yth  instant  we  received  your  Excellency's  letters  of 
the  1 6th  June  last,  covering  a  resolution  of  Congress  of  the 
ist  May,  directing  a  commission  to  us  for  making  a  treaty 
of  commerce,  etc.,  with  Great  Britain.  This  intelligence 
arrived  very  opportunely  to  prevent  the  anti-American  party 
in  England  from  ascribing  any  delays  on  our  parts  to  motives 
of  resentment  to  that  country.  Great  Britain  will  send  a 


minister  to  Congress  as  soon  as  Congress  shall  send  a  minister 
to  Britain,  and  we  think  much  might  result  from  that  meas- 

The  information  of  Mr.  Dumas,  that  we  encouraged  the 
idea  of  entering  into  engagements  with  the  Dutch  to  defend 
the  freedom  of  trade,  was  not  well  founded.  Our  senti- 
ments on  that  subject  exactly  correspond  with  those  of  Con- 
gress, nor  did  we  even  think  or  pretend  that  we  had  authority 
to  adopt  any  such  measures. 

We  have  reasons  to  think  that  the  Emperor  of  Russia  and 
other  commercial  nations  are  ready  to  make  treaties  of  com- 
merce with  the  United  States.  Perhaps  it  might  not  be  im- 
proper for  Congress  to  direct  their  disposition  on  the  subject 
be  communicated  to  those  courts,  and  thereby  prepare  the 
way  for  such  treaties. 

The  Emperor  of  Morocco  has  manifested  a  very  friendly 
disposition  towards  us.  He  expects,  and  is  ready  to  receive, 
a  minister  from  us,  and  as  he  may  either  change  his  mind 
or  may  be  succeeded  by  a  prince  differently  disposed,  a 
treaty  with  him  may  be  of  importance.  Our  trade  to  the 
Mediterranean  will  not  be  inconsiderable,  and  the  friend- 
ship of  Morocco,  Algiers,  Tunis,  and  Tripoli  may  become 
very  interesting  in  case  the  Russians  should  succeed  hi  their 
endeavours  to  navigate  freely  into  it  by  Constantinople.  Much, 
we  think,  will  depend  on  the  success  of  our  negotiations  with 
England.  If  she  could  be  prevailed  upon  to  agree  to  a 
liberal  system  of  commerce,  France,  and  perhaps  some  other 
nations,  will  follow  her  example;  but  if  she  should  prefer 
an  extensive  monopolizing  plan,  it  is  probable  that  her 
neighbours  will  continue  to  adhere  to  their  favourite 


Were  it  certain  that  the  United  States  could  be  brought  to 
act  as  a  nation,  and  would  jointly  and  fairly  conduct  their 
commerce  on  principles  of  exact  reciprocity  with  all  nations, 
we  think  it  probable  that  Britain  would  make  extensive  con- 
cessions. But,  on  the  contrary,  while  the  prospect  of  dis- 
union in  our  council,  or  want  of  power  and  energy  in  our 
executive  department  exists,  they  will  not  be  apprehensive 
of  retaliation,  and  consequently  lose  their  principal  motive 
to  liberality.  Unless,  with  respect  to  all  foreign  nations  and 
transactions,  we  uniformly  act  as  an  entire  united  nation, 
faithfully  executing  and  obeying  the  constitutional  acts  of 
Congress  on  those  subjects,  we  shall  soon  find  ourselves  in 
the  situation  in  which  all  Europe  wishes  to  see  us,  viz.,  as 
unimportant  consumers  of  her  manufactures  and  pro- 
ductions, and  as  useful  labourers  to  furnish  her  with  raw 

We  beg  leave  to  assure  Congress  that  we  shall  apply  our 
best  endeavours  to  execute  the  new  commission  to  their  satis- 
faction, and  punctually  obey  such  instructions  as  they  may 
be  pleased  to  give  us  relative  to  it.  Unless  Congress  should 
have  nominated  a  secretary  to  that  commission  we  shall  con- 
sider ourselves  at  liberty  to  appoint  one ;  and  as  we  are  well 
satisfied  with  the  conduct  of  Mr.  W.  T.  Franklin,  the  secretary 
of  our  late  commission,  we  propose  to  appoint  him,  leaving 
it  to  Congress  to  make  such  compensation  for  his  services  as 
they  may  judge  proper. 

Count  de  Vergennes  communicated  to  us  a  proposition 
(viz.,  No.  9,  herewith  enclosed)  for  explaining  the  second 
and  third  articles  of  our  treaty  with  France  in  a  matter 
different  from  the  sense  in  which  we  understood  them.  This 
being  a  matter  in  which  we  had  no  right  to  interfere,  we  have 


not  expressed  any  opinion  about  it  to  the  Count.     With  great 
respect  we  have  the  honour  to  be,  sir,  your  Excellency's  most 

obedient  and  most  humble  servants, 


[Signed]  B.  FRANKLIN 




WITH  no  assistance,  save  the  slight  help  furnished  by  his 
grandson,  —  an  inexperienced  boy  who  was  more  familiar 
than  he  with  the  French  language,  —  surrounded  by  spies 
and  beset  by  jealous  and  malicious  foes,  Franklin  performed 
alone  the  varied  duties  of  merchant,  consul,  commissioner,  and 
plenipotentiary.  He  bought  and  sold  ships,  adjusted  diffi- 
culties between  rival  commanders,  pacified  mutinous  crews 
clamouring  for  prizes,  purchased  arms  and  clothing  for  the 
Continentals,  recommended  soldiers  and  sailors  for  the  army 
and  navy  in  America,  made  treaties  with  the  farmers-general, 
influenced  the  policy  of  foreign  newspapers,  honoured  the 
large  and  constant  drafts  of  the  Congress,  and  persuaded 
the  French  government  to  advance  large  sums  of  money  to 
relieve  the  desperate  necessities  of  America. 

But  his  life  was  not  all  toil.  He  lightened  the  burden  and 
forgot  his  worries  by  social  diversions.  He  was  admired  by 
philosophers  and  petted  by  society;  and  he  found  himself 
as  much  at  home  in  the  salon  of  Madame  d'Houdetot  or 
Madame  Helve'tius  as  in  the  laboratory  of  Lavoisier,  the 


clinic  of  Vicq  d'Azyr,  or  the  cabinet  of  Vergennes.  Never 
lived  a  man  more  idolized.  Curious  crowds  followed  him 
with  applause  when  he  walked  abroad;  men  carried  their 
canes  and  their  snuff-boxes  a  la  Franklin,  fair  women  crowned 
him  with  flowers,  and  wrote  him  roguish  letters  affectionately 
addressed  to  "dear  amiable  Papa." 

A  list  of  the  names  upon  the  visiting  cards  found  among 
Franklin's  private  papers  would  be  an  index  of  the  society 
of  Paris  before  the  Revolution.  Those  that  most  frequently 
appear  are  La  Duchesse  d'Enville,  Due  de  la  Rochefoucauld, 
M.  Turgot,  Due  de  Chaulnes,  Comte  de  Crillon,  Vicomte  de 
Sarsfield,  M.  Brisson,  of  the  Royal  Academy  of  Sciences, 
Comte  de  Milly,  Prince  des  Deuxponts,  Comte  d'Estaing, 
Marquis  de  Mirabeau,  M.  Beaugeard,  Treasurer  of  the 
State  of  Brittany. 

Twice  a  week  he  dined  with  Madame  Brillon  at  Moulin 
Joli,  every  Saturday  with  Madame  Helve"tius  at  Auteuil,  and 
more  irregularly  but  still  frequently  with  Madame  d'Houdetot 
at  Sanois.  He  was  a  social  creature  and  loved  cheerful  com- 
panionship, —  chess,  conversation,  and  music,  —  nor  was  he, 
maugre  the  gout  and  the  gravel,  in  any  wise  averse  to  the 
pleasures  of  the  table.  His  dinners  at  home  when  he  enter- 
tained his  friends  on  Sunday  at  Passy  were  carefully  studied, 
and  his  household  accounts  speak  of  large  and  learned  pur- 
chases of  the  best  vintages  of  France.  His  appetite  for 
sawdust-pudding  belonged  only  to  the  days  of  his  apprentice- 
ship. At  sixty  he  was  fond  of  an  afternoon  of  salt  fish  and 
brandy  at  the  George  and  Vulture  with  Anthony  Todd,  and 
was  rather  proud  of  discomfiting  Lord  Clare  at  a  claret- 
drinking.  Ten  years  later  he  made  careful  collections  of 
menus,  and  declared  that  he  would  rather  bring  back  from 


Italy  a  receipt  for  Parmesan  cheese  than  the  rarest  inscrip- 
tion that  archaeology  had  unearthed.  A  glass  or  two  of 
champagne  sufficed  to  put  him  in  good  humour,  but  before 
the  dinner  was  over,  he  confessed  to  Mrs.  Hewson,  he  often 
drank  more  than  a  philosopher  should.  He  was  particularly 
partial  to  the  wines  of  Burgundy,  and  brought  on  access  of 
gout  with  the  copious  draughts  of  Nuits  with  which  Cabanis 
plied  him  at  Auteuil.  But  he  was  also  fond  of  Madeira,  and 
liked  to  gossip  with  his  friend  Strahan  over  the  second 

The  brother-in-law  of  the  Chevaliere  d'Eon  sent  him  a 
cask  of  Burgundy  from  that  strange  creature's  vineyard. 
M.  de  Bays,  sub-delegate  of  the  Intendance  of  Bourgogne, 
presented  him  with  a  basket  of  the  best  Burgundy  to  cele- 
brate the  Treaty  of  Peace.  David  Hartley  supplied  him 
with  Jamaica  rum.  From  Thomas  Jordan,  the  brewer,  he 
received  a  cask  of  porter  which  he  broached  in  Philadelphia, 
when  "its  contents  met  with  the  most  cordial  reception  and 
universal  approbation." 

He  was  very  susceptible  to  female  charms.  Madame 
Brillon  wrote  to  him,  "  You  permit  your  wisdom  to  be  broken 
against  the  rocks  of  femininity."  Writing  from  Paris  to  Mrs. 
Partridge,  he  said,  "You  mention  the  kindness  of  the  French 
ladies  to  me.  I  must  explain  that  matter.  This  is  the 
civilest  nation  upon  earth.  Your  first  acquaintances  en- 
deavour to  find  out  what  you  like  and  they  tell  others.  If  'tis 
understood  that  you  like  mutton,  dine  where  you  will  you  find 
mutton.  Somebody,  it  seems,  gave  it  out  that  I  lov'd  ladies ; 
and  then  everybody  presented  me  their  ladies  (or  the  ladies 
presented  themselves)  to  be  embraced  —  that  is  to  have  their 
necks  kissed.  For  as  to  kissing  of  lips  or  cheeks,  it  is  not 


the  mode  here;  the  first  is  reckoned  rude,  and  the  other 
may  rub  off  the  paint." 

In  America,  the  chief  friends  with  whom  he  indulged  in 
careless  banter  and  frivolous  correspondence  were  "Caty" 
Ray,  afterwards  the  wife  of  William  Greene,  governor  of 
Rhode  Island,  and  Elizabeth  Partridge,  ne'e  "Betsey"  Hub- 
bard.  In  England  he  found  his  most  cheerful  diversion  with 
Mrs.  Mary  Hewson  and  Georgiana  Shipley  (daughter  of  the 
Bishop  of  St.  Asaph).  Liberal  portions  still  exist  of  his  cor- 
respondence in  France  with  Mesdames  Brillon,  D'Houdetot, 
Helv&ius,  Foucault,  Forbach,  and  Le  Veillard. 

It  was  to  Madame  Brillon  that  Franklin  addressed  the 
first  of  his  famous  bagatelles.  He  has  told  the  circumstances 
in  a  letter  to  William  Carmichael. 

"The  person  to  whom  it  ['The  Ephemera']  was  ad- 
dressed is  Madame  Brillon,  a  lady  of  most  respectable  char- 
acter and  pleasing  conversation;  mistress  of  an  amiable 
family  in  this  neighbourhood,  with  which  I  spend  an  evening 
twice  in  every  week.  She  has,  among  other  elegant  accom- 
plishments, that  of  an  excellent  musician;  and,  with  her 
daughters  who  sing  prettily,  and  some  friends  who  play,  she 
kindly  entertains  me  and  my  grandson  with  little  concerts,  a 
cup  of  tea,  and  a  game  of  chess.  I  call  this  my  Opera,  for  I 
rarely  go  to  the  Opera  at  Paris." 

M.  Brillon  was  a  French  official  of  good  estate  and  con- 
siderable income.  His  wife  was  much  younger  than  he, 
and  according  to  Miss  Adams  "one  of  the  handsomest  women 
in  France."  Franklin  attempted  hi  vain  to  arrange  a  mar- 
riage between  her  daughter  and  his  grandson.  Every  Wed- 
nesday and  Saturday  he  visited  her  and  in  the  intervening 
days  letters  were  swift  and  intelligent  between  them.  "Do 


you  know,  my  dear  Papa,"  she  wrote  to  him,  "that  people 
have  the  audacity  to  criticise  my  pleasant  habit  of  sitting 
upon  your  knees,  and  yours  of  always  asking  me  for  what  I 
always  refuse?"  "I  despise  slanderers  and  am  at  peace 
with  myself,  but  that  is  not  enough,  one  must  submit  to  what 
is  called  propriety  (the  word  varies  in  each  century  in  each 
country),  to  sit  less  often  on  your  knees.  I  shall  certainly 
love  you  none  the  less,  nor  will  our  hearts  be  more  or  less 
pure ;  but  we  shall  close  the  mouths  of  the  malicious  and  it 
is  no  slight  thing  even  for  the  secure  to  silence  them." 

In  the  great  collection  of  Franklin's  papers  in  The  American 
Philosophical  Society  are  one  hundred  and  nineteen  letters 
from  Madame  Brillon,  sparkling  with  wit  and  full  of  interest- 
ing history.  The  rough  drafts,  also,  of  some  of  Franklin's 
letters  to  her  exist  in  the  same  collection,  some  of  them  writ- 
ten in  his  halting  French  and  corrected  by  her  pen.  These 
letters  have  not  hitherto  been  printed.  They  illuminate  the 
character  of  Franklin  and  show  the  great  man  in  idle  hours 
when  free  of  the  weary  burden  of  public  business.  Most  of 
them  are  undated,  but  I  have  tried  to  arrange  them  as 
nearly  as  possible  in  what  would  appear  to  have  been  their 
chronological  order. 



2nd  November,  1778. 

The  hope  that  I  had  of  seeing  you  here,  my  dear  Papa, 
prevented  my  writing  to  you  for  Saturday's  tea.  Hope  is  the 
remedy  for  all  our  ills.  If  one  suffers,  one  hopes  for  the  end 
of  the  trouble ; .  if  one  is  with  friends,  one  hopes  to  remain 
with  them ;  if  one  is  away  from  them,  one  hopes  to  go  to  them, 


—  and  this  is  the  only  hope  that  is  left  to  me.  I  shall  count 
the  days,  the  hours,  the  minutes ;  each  minute  passed  brings 
me  nearer  to  you.  We  like  to  watch  when  it  is  the  only 
means  of  uniting  us  to  those  whom  we  love.  Man,  who 
takes  life  thus,  tries  unceasingly  to  shorten  it;  he  plans, 
desires ;  without  the  future,  it  seems  to  him  that  he  possesses 
nothing.  When  my  children  are  grown  up  —  in  ten  years  — 
the  trees  in  my  garden  will  shade  me.  The  years  pass,  and 
then  one  regrets  them.  I  might  have  done  such  and  such  a 
thing,  one  says  then.  Had  I  not  been  only  twenty-five  years 
old,  I  would  not  have  done  the  foolish  thing  that  I  now  repent 
of.  The  wise  man  alone  enjoys  the  present,  does  not  regret 
the  past,  and  waits  peacefully  for  the  future.  The  wise  man, 
who,  like  you,  my  Papa,  has  passed  his  youth  in  gathering 
knowledge  and  enlightening  his  fellows,  and  his  ripe  years  in 
obtaining  liberty  for  them,  can  cast  a  complaisant  look  on  the 
past,  enjoy  the  present,  and  await  the  reward  of  his  labour  in 
the  future ;  but  how  many  are  wise  ?  I  try  to  become  so,  and 
am,  in  some  ways :  I  take  no  account  of  wealth,  vanity  has 
small  hold  on  my  heart ;  I  like  to  do  my  duty ;  I  freely  forgive 
society  its  errors  and  injustices.  But  I  love  my  friends  with  an 
idolatry  that  often  does  me  harm :  a  prodigious  imagination,  a 
soul  of  fire  will  always  give  them  the  ascendant  over  all  my 
plans  and  my  thoughts.  I  see,  Papa,  that  I  must  pretend  to 
but  one  perfection  —  that  of  loving  the  most  that  is  possible. 
May  this  quality  make  you  love  your  daughter  always ! 

Will  you  not  write  me  a  word  ?  a  word  from  you  gives  me 
so  much  pleasure.  It  is  always  very  good  French  to  say, 
"  Je  vous  aime."  My  heart  always  goes  out  to  meet  this  word 
when  you  say  it  to  me. 

You  always  know  how  to  join  great  wisdom  to  a  grain 


of  roguishness ;  you  ask  Brillon  for  news  of  me  just  when  you 
are  receiving  a  letter  from  me;  you  act  the  neglected  one, 
just  when  you  are  being  spoiled,  and  then  you  deny  it  like 
a  madman  when  the  secret  is  discovered.  Oh,  I  have  news  of 

Good-bye,  my  kind  Papa.  Our  good  neighbours  are  going ; 
there  will  be  no  more  days  for  tea,  where  one  can  find  you. 
I  will  write  to  you  in  spite  of  this,  at  least  once  a  week.  May 
my  letters  give  you  some  pleasure,  —  as  to  love  you  and  to  tell 
you  so  is  my  heart's  need.  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 

Your  very  humble  and  very  obedient  servant, 


I  was  at  a  fine  place  (Erme'nonville),  yesterday,  where  you 
are  respected  and  wanted.  I  said  I  hoped  we  should  go  there 
together,  some  day ;  they  spoke  to  me  of  you  only.  You  can 
judge  that,  without  knowing  it,  they  could  not  have  pleased 
me  better. 

Mama,  my  children,  and  Mile.  Jupin  present  you  their 
respects.  May  I  venture  to  beg  you  to  give  my  kind  regards 
to  Mr.  Franklinet? 


nth  May,  1779. 

You  are  quite  right,  my  good  Papa,  true  happiness  should 
consist  for  us  only  in  peace  of  mind ;  it  is  not  in  our  power 
to  change  the  nature  of  those  with  whom  we  live,  nor  to  pre- 
vent the  contrarieties  that  surround  us.  It  is  a  wise  man  who 
speaks,  and  who  tries  to  advise  his  too  sensitive  daughter  by 
teaching  her  the  truth.  Oh,  my  Papa,  I  beg  for  your  friend- 
ship, your  healthy  philosophy ;  my  heart  listens  and  submits 
to  you.  Give  me  strength  that  it  may  take  the  place  of  an 


indifference  your  child  can  never  feel.  But  admit,  my  friend, 
that  for  one  who  knows  how  to  love,  ingratitude  is  a  frightful 
ill ;  that  it  is  hard  for  a  woman  who  would  give  her  life  without 
hesitation  to  insure  her  husband's  happiness  to  see  the  result  of 
her  care  and  her  desires  taken  away  by  intrigue,  and  falseness. 
Time  will  make  all  right :  my  Papa  has  said  so,  and  I  believe  it. 
But  my  Papa  has  also  said  that  time  is  the  stuff  of  which  life 
is  made.  My  life,  my  friend,  is  made  of  fine  and  thin  stuff, 
that  grief  tears  cruelly ;  if  I  had  anything  to  reproach  myself 
with,  I  should  long  have  ceased  to  exist.  My  soul  is  pure, 
simple,  frank.  I  dare  to  tell  my  Papa  so ;  I  dare  to  tell  him 
that  it  is  worthy  of  him ;  I  dare  still  assure  him  that  my  con- 
duct, which  he  has  considered  wise,  will  not  belie  itself,  that 
I  will  await  justice  in  patience,  that  I  will  follow  the  advice 
of  my  honourable  friend  with  firmness  and  confidence. 

Adieu,  you  whom  I  love  so  much,  —  my  kind  Papa. 
Never  call  me  anything  but  "my  daughter."  Yesterday  you 
called  me  "  Madame,"  and  my  heart  shrank,  I  examined  my- 
self, to  see  whether  I  had  done  you  any  wrong,  or  if  I  had 
some  failings  that  you  would  not  tell  me  of.  Pardon,  my 
friend ;  I  am  not  reproaching  you,  I  am  accusing  myself  of 
a  weakness.  I  was  born  much  too  sensitive  for  my  happiness 
and  for  that  of  my  friends ;  cure  me,  or  pity  me,  if  you  can  do 
one  and  the  other. 

To-morrow,  Wednesday,  you  will  come  to  tea,  will  you 
not  ?  Believe,  my  Papa,  that  the  pleasure  I  take  in  receiving 
you  is  shared  by  my  husband,  my  children,  and  my  friends; 
I  cannot  doubt  it,  and  I  assure  you  of  it. 

To  this  letter  Franklin  replied :  — 

"Vous  m'avez  dit,  ma  chere  fille,  que  votre  cceur  est 
trop  sensible.  Je  vois  bien  dans  vos  lettres  que  cela  est 


trop  vrai.  D'etre  fort  sensible  de  nos  propres  fautes,  c'est 
bon;  parce  que  cela  nous  mene  de  les  eviter  en  futur;  mais 
d'etre  fort  sensible  et  afflige*  des  fautes  d'autres  gens  n'est  pas 
bon.  C'est  a  eux  d'etre  sensible  la  et  d'etre  afflige'es  de  ce  qu'ils 
avaient  mal  fait ;  pour  nous,  nous  devons  rester  en  tranquil- 
ite  qui  est  le  droit  et  la  partage  de  1'innocence  et  la  vertu. 
Mais  vous  dites  'que  PIngratitude  est  un  mal  affreux.' 
C'est  vrai  —  aux  ingrats  —  mais  non  pas  a  leurs  bienfaiteurs. 
Vous  ayez  confe're'  des  bienfaits  sur  ceux  que  vous  en  avez 
cru  digne ;  vous  avez  done  fait  votre  devoir,  puisque  c'est  de 
notre  devoir  d'etre  bienfaisants  et  vous  devez  etre  satisfait 
de  cela  et  heureux  dans  la  reflection.  S'ils  sont  des  ingrats 
c'est  leur  crime  et  non  pas  le  votre ;  et  c'est  a  eux  d'etre  mal- 
heureux  quand  ils  reflechissent  sur  la  turpitude  leur  conduite 
envers  vous.  S'ils  vous  font  des  injures,  reflechissez  que 
quoique  ils  peuvent  etre  auparavant  vos  e*gaux  ils  se  sont 
place's  par  cette  moyen  au-dessous  de  vous ;  si  vous  vous 
vengez  en  les  punissant  exactement  vous  leur  restituez  leur  e*tat 
d'e'galite'  qu'ils  avoient  perdu.  Mais  si  vous  les  pardonnez 
sans  leur  dormer  aucune  punition  vous  les  fixez  dans  cette 
bas  e*tat  ou  ils  sont  tombe*  et  d'ou  ils  ne  peuvent  jamais  sortir 
sans  vraie  repentance  et  pleine  reparation.  Suivez  done,  ma 
tres  chere  et  toujours  aimable  fille,  la  bonne  resolution  que 
vous  avez  prise  si  sagement  de  continuer  a  remplir  tous  vos 
devoirs  comme  bonne  mere,  bonne  femme,  bonne  amie, 
bonne  prochaine,  bonne  Chre'tienne,  etc.  et  negligez  et  oubliez 
s'il  est  possible  les  injures  qu'on  peut  vous  faire  a  present ;  et 
soyez  assure"  qu'avec  le  terns  la  rectitude  de  votre  conduite 
gagnera  sur  les  esprits  meme  des  gens  les  plus  mauvaises  et 
encore  plus  sur  ceux  des  personnes  qui  sont  au  fond  d'un 
bon  naturel  et  qui  ont  aussi  du  bon  sens  quoique  pour  le 


present  peut-etre  un  peu  e*garees  par  Partifice  des  autres. 
Alors  tous  vous  demanderont  avec  componction  le  retour  de 
votre  amitie  et  deviendront  pour  1'avenir  de  vos  plus  ze'le's 

"  Je  suis  sensible  que  j'ai  e"crit  ici  beaucoup  de  tres  mauvais 
francais;  cela  peut  vous  degouter  vous  qui  e"crivez  cette 
langue  charmante  avec  tant  de  purete  et  d'e'le'gance.  Mais  si 
vous  pouvez  en  fin  dechiffrer  mes  expressions  gauches  et 
impropres  vous  aurez  peut-6tre  au  moins  cette  espece  de 
plaisir  qu'on  a  en  expliquant  les  e*nigmes  ou  decouvrant  des 

Franklin  sent  Madame  Brillon  his  "Dialogue  with  the 
Gout,"  and  accompanied  it  with  the  following  undated  letter. 

"Je  vous  renvoie  ma  tres  chere  fille,  puisque  vous  voulez 
absolument  le  ravoir  le  brouillon  de  votre  jolie  fable.  J'avois 
la  pense*e  qu'en  vous  offrant  une  plus  belle  edition  que  votre 
ouvrage  meritoit  bien  je  pouvois  vous  gagner  de  me  permettre 
a  retenir  Poriginal,  ce  que  je  desirois  parce  que  j'aime  tant 
ce  qui  vient  de  votre  main.  Et  comme  mon  fils  est  aussi 
un  de  vos  admirateurs  j'ai  voulu  par  le  plaisir  de  le  lire  lui 
payer  le  travail  de  le  bien  copier.  J'ai  fait  une  faute  je  le 
conf esse,  mais  comme  vous  avez  eu  la  bont£  de  le  pardonner  je 
ne  le  repeterai  pas  jusqu'a  une  autre  occasion. 

"  Une  des  personnages  de  votre  fable,  viz.  la  Gout  me  paroit 
raissonner  assez  bien  a  1'exception  de  sa  supposition  que  les 
maitresses  ont  eu  quelque  part  en  produisant  ce  doulour- 
euse  maladie.  Je  crois  moi  tout  le  contraire  et  voici  comme 
je  raissonne.  Quand  j'e*tois  jeune  homme  et  que  je  jouissois 
plus  des  faveurs  de  la  Sexe  qu'a  present,  je  n'avois  point  de 
goutte.  Done  si  les  Dames  de  Passy  auroient  eu  plus  de 
cette  espece  de  charite*  chretienne  que  je  vous  ai  si  souvent 


en  vaine  recommande,  je  n'aurois  pas  eu  la  goutte  actuelle- 
ment.  II  me  semble  que  ceci  est  bonne  logique. 

"  Je  suis  beaucoup  mieux.  J'ai  peu  de  douleur  mais  je  me 
trouve  bien  faible.  Je  peux  comme  vous  voyez  badiner  un 
peu,  mais  je  ne  peux  pas  etre  r£ellement  gai  avant  que  j'en- 
tendrai  que  votre  pre'cieuse  sant£  est  retablie. 

"Je  vous  envoie  mon  Dialogue  en  espe*rant  que  cela 
pourroit  vous  amuser  quelques  moments. 

"  Bien  de  remerciements  pour  les  tres  dernieres  tomes  de 
Montaigne  que  je  renvoie. 

"  La  visite  de  votre  toujours  aimable  famille  hier  au  soir  m'a 
faite  beaucoup  de  bien.  Mon  Dieu  !  comme  je  les  aime  tous 
de  la  Grand  Mere  et  le  pere  jusque  le  plus  petite  enfant." 

To  this  letter  Madame  Brillon  replied:  — 

Saturday,  i8th  November,  1780. 

There  should  be  many  little  things  to  criticise  in  your  logic, 
which  my  dear  Papa  asserts  so  well.  "When  I  was  a  young 
man,"  you  say,  "and  enjoyed  the  favours  of  the  sex  more  than 
at  present,  I  had  no  gout."  "  Then,"  one  might  reply  to  this, 
"  when  I  threw  myself  out  of  the  window,  I  did  not  break  my 
leg."  THEN  you  could  have  the  gout  without  having  deserved 
it,  and  you  could  have  well  deserved  it,  as  I  believe,  and  not 
have  had  it. 

If  this  last  argument  is  not  as  brilliant  as  the  others,  it  is 
clear  and  sure ;  what  are  neither  clear  nor  sure  are  the  argu- 
ments of  philosophers  who  insist  that  everything  that  happens 
in  the  world  is  necessary  to  the  general  movement  of  the 
universal  machine.  I  believe  that  the  machine  would  go 
neither  better  nor  worse  if  you  had  not  the  gout,  and  if  I 
were  forever  rid  of  my  nervous  troubles. 


I  do  not  see  what  help,  more  or  less,  these  little  incidents 
can  give  to  the  wheels  that  turn  this  world  at  random,  and  I 
know  that  my  little  machine  goes  worse  for  them.  What  I 
know  very  well  besides,  is  that  pain  sometimes  becomes  mis- 
tress of  reason,  and  that  patience  alone  can  overcome  these  two 
plagues.  I  have  as  much  of  it  as  I  can,  and  I  advise  you,  my 
friend,  to  have  the  same.  When  frosts  have  blackened  the 
earth,  a  bright  sun  makes  us  forget  them.  We  are  in  the 
midst  of  frosts,  and  must  wait  patiently  for  the  bright  sun,  and, 
while  waiting,  amuse  ourselves  in  the  moments  when  weakness 
and  pain  leave  us  some  rest.  This,  my  dear  Papa,  is  my  logic. 

Your  dialogue  amused  me  very  much,  but  the  corrector 
of  your  French  spoiled  your  work.  Believe  me,  leave  your 
works  as  they  are,  use  words  that  say  things,  and  laugh  at 
grammarians,  who,  by  their  purity,  weaken  all  your  sen- 
tences. If  I  had  a  good  enough  head,  I  would  compose  a 
terrible  diatribe  against  those  who  dare  to  re-touch  you,  were 
it  1'Abbe*  de  la  Roche,  my  neighbor  Veillard,  etc.,  etc.,  etc. 
I  want  to  amuse  myself  by  making  notes  on  your  work, 
and  on  theirs,  and  you  will  see  that  you  are  right. 

Adieu,  my  good  Papa.  My  big  husband  will  take  my 
letter  to  you ;  he  is  very  happy  to  be  able  to  go  to  see  you. 
For  me,  nothing  remains  but  the  faculty  of  loving  my  friends. 
You  do  not  doubt,  surely,  that  I  will  do  my  best  for  you,  even 
to  Christian  charity,  that  is  to  say,  your  Christian  charity, 


New  Year's  Day,  1781. 

If  I  had  a  good  head  and  good  legs  —  if,  in  short,  I  had 
all  that  I  lack,  —  I  should  have  come,  like  a  good  daughter, 


to  wish  a  happy  New  Year  to  the  best  of  papas.  But  I 
have  only  a  very  tender  heart  to  love  him  well,  and  a  rather 
bad  pen  to  scribble  him  that  this  year,  as  well  as  last,  and  as 
well  as  all  the  years  of  my  life,  I  shall  love  him,  myself  alone, 
as  much  as  all  the  others  that  love  him,  put  together. 

Brillon  and  the  children  present  their  homage  to  the  kind 
Papa ;  and  we  also  say  a  thousand  things  to  M.  Franklinet. 

Franklin  attempted  to  arrange  a  marriage  between  his 
nephew,  Jonathan  Williams,  and  one  of  the  daughters  of  John 
Schweighauser,  banker  at  Nantes.  His  plans  failed,  and 
Williams  married  Mariamne  Alexander.  He  also  tried  to 
obtain  one  of  the  daughters  of  Madame  Brillon  for  his  grand- 
son, William  Temple  Franklin.  It  was  in  reply  to  overtures 
of  this  kind  that  the  following  letter  was  written.  Between 
two  and  three  years  later  Franklin  received  a  notice  of  the 
marriage  of  the  daughter  whom  he  had  hoped  to  receive 
into  his  own  family :  "Monsieur  et  Madame  Brillon  de  Jouy 
ont  Phonneur  de  vous  faire  part  du  Mariage  de  Mademoiselle 
Brillon,  leur  Fille,  avec  Monsieur  Paris."  Upon  the  card, 
which  exists  among  the  private  papers  in  The  American  Philo- 
sophical Society,  Franklin  wrote,  "They  were  married  Mon- 
day, Oct.  20,  1783." 

A  rough  draft  of  the  letter  in  which  Franklin  proposed 
a  marriage  between  his  grandson  and  Madame  Brillon's 
daughter  is  in  the  Library  of  Congress.  The  letter  must  have 
been  written  in  April,  1781.  It  is  particularly  interesting  be- 
cause of  the  light  it  throws  upon  Franklin's  religious  beliefs. 


Souvenez  vous,  ma  chere  Amie,  que  je  vous  ai  demande; 
il  y  a  quelque  terns,  si  M.  B.  vous  a  parle*  d'une  Proposition 

VOL.  X  —  2  B 


que  je  lui  avoit  faite  ?  Vous  m'aviez  dit,  que  non.  Je  pensois 
de  ne  vous  en  parler  pas,  non  plus;  mais  je  suis  change 
d'avis,  &  je  vas  vous  dire  la  chose.  C'etoit  une  Manage 
entre  votre  chere  fille  ainee  &  mon  petit  fils.  Voici 
mes  Motifs,  J'aime,  moi,  tout  la  Famille  sans  exception.  Je 
de'sirois  de  reserver  par  ce  moyen  les  tendres  Liaisons  de  notre 
Amide*.  Ayant  quasi  perdue  ma  Fille  par  la  vaste  Distance 
entre  nous,  j'esperois  d'en  trouver  une  en  vous  &  une  autre 
en  votre  Fille,  de  soigner  ma  Viellesse  si  je  restois  en  France, 
&  de  clorre  mes  paupieres  quand  je  viens  de  mourir.  J'ai 
tres  bonne  Opinion  de  cette  aimable  Demoiselle;  Je  Fai 
observee  pendant  4  Ans  de  Connoissance,  &  assurement  je 
crois  qu'elle  fera  une  bonne  Femme.  Je  crois  aussi  que  mon 
Fils,  qui  n'a  point  des  Vices,  fera  un  bon  Mari,  autrement 
je  n'aurois  pas  desire  de  le  donner  a  votre  Fille.  J'ai  ob- 
servai  qu'ils  ont  d'Amitie'  Fun  pour  Fautre.  J'avois  parle" 
a  lui  de  mes  vues  de  le  marier  ici ;  il  m'a  dit  qu'il  n'avoit  que 
seule  Objection,  que  son  Manage  en  France  peut  occasioner 
une  Separation  entre  nous,  si  je  retournois  en  Amerique; 
Mais  quand  je  lui  disois  que  s'il  marrioit  Mad1*  Brillon  je 
resterai  jusque  la  fin  de  mes  jours  en  France  il  en  etoit  fort 
content,  disant  que  si  je  peux  negocier  cette  Affaire  pour  lui, 
il  seroit  bien  heureux.  II  est  encore  jeune,  &  peut-etre  le 
Partialite  d'un  Pere,  m'avois  fait  penser  trop  avantageuse- 
ment  de  lui,  mais  il  me  semble,  qu'il  a  en  lui  Fetoffe  pour  faire 
avec  le  terns  un  homme  distingue".  Voila  mes  Excuses  pour 
avoir  fait  cette  de  marche.  Peut  etre  J'aurois  mieux  fait  si 
j'avois  premierement  pris  Conseil  de  vous,  parceque  vous 
pouvois  m'informer  que  cette  Projet  ne  conviendroit  pas  a  M. 
Brillon,  &  je  lui  aurois  epargnd  la  peine  de  tourner  pour  le 


II  m'a  fait  aujourd'hui  deux  Objections.  L'une  est  la 
Difference  de  Religion.  L'autre  que  sa  Fille  pourroit  etre 
amenee  en  Amerique,  par  mon  petit  fils.  J'avois  pense*  moi 
auparavant  de  ces  deux  choses.  Pour  la  seconde  c'e"toit  mon 
intention  de  tacher  de  Petablir  en  France,  restant  ici  moi- 
meme  pendant  ma  Vie,  &  obtenant  pour  lui  de  me  succeder 
dans  mon  Emploi  publique,  que  je  crois  bien  possible,  avec 
le  tems.  Pour  la  premiere,  voici  mes  Ide*es.  En  chaque 
Religion  il  y  a  des  choses  essentielles,  &  il  y  a  d'autres  qui 
ne  sont  que  des  Formes  &  des  Modes ;  Comme  un  pain  de 
Sucre  qui  peut-etre  enveloppe*  en  Papier  brun  ou  blanc  ou 
bleu,  &  lie  avec  ficelle  de  chanvre  ou  de  laine,  rouge  ou  jaune ; 
c'est  toujours  le  Sucre  qui  est  la  chose  essentielle.  Or  les 
essentielles  d'une  bonne  Religion  consistent,  il  me  semble,  en 
ces  5  Articles  viz: 

i°  Qu'il  y  a  un  Dieu  qui  a  fait-le  Monde,  &  qui  le  Gouverne 
par  sa  Providence. 

2°  Qu'il  doit  dtre  adore*,  &  servi 

3.  Que  le  meilleure  service  de  Dieu  est  de  faire  le  bien  aux 

4.  Que  1'ame  de  Phomme  est  immortelle  & 

5.  Que  dans  une  Vie  future  sinon  dans  la  presente,  le  vice 
sera  puni,   &  la  Vertue  recompensed. 

Ces  Essentielles  on  trouve  dans  votre  Religion  &  dans  le 
notre,  les  Differences  ne  sont  que  Papier  &  Ficelle.  C'est 
avec  ces  Pense'es  que  je  m'ai  satisfait  sur  cette  Sujet.  Mais 
comme  les  me'mes  Raisonnement  ne  sont  bons  pour  tout  le 
Monde,  je  ne  pretend  pas  que  les  miens  doivent  etre  bons  pour 
vous,  .  &  pour  M.  Brillon.  L'Affaire  est  done  fini,  car 
1'Affaire  est  fini,  car  peutetre  il  a  d'autres  Objections  qu'il 
ne  m'a  pas  donne'es,  &  je  ne  doit  pas  1'importuner.  Nous 


vous  aimerons  tous,  neantmoins.    Adieu,  ma  tres  chere  Amie, 
Aimez  mois  autant  que  vous  pouvez.     Ce  n'est  pas  trop. 

To  this  letter  Madame  Brillon  replied :  — 

Friday,  aoth  April,  1781. 

I  am  going  to  answer  your  letter,  my  good  Papa,  with 
frankness  and  friendliness.     It  would  have  been  sweet  to  my 
heart,  and  most  agreeable  to  M.  Brillon,  to  form  an  alliance 
which  would  have  made  one  family  of  us;  we  like  your  son, 
and  believe  that  he  has  all  that  is  necessary  to  make  a  man 
distinguished,  and  to  render  a  woman  happy.     But  he  cannot 
reasonably  decide  to  remain  in  this  country;   his  property, 
his  profession,  and  his  duty  bind  him  to  his  country.     Your 
name  to  sustain  is  another  tie  that  obliges  him  in  every  case 
to  do  the  things,  and  live  in  the  places,  where  he  will  be  useful 
to  his  fellow-citizens.     On  our  side,  we  need  a  son-in-law 
who  is  in  a  condition  to  fill  the  place  of  my  husband,  who 
begins  to  feel  the  need  of  rest.     This  place  is  the  most  im- 
portant object  of  our  fortune ;  it  calls  for  a  man  skilled  in  the 
knowledge  of  the  laws  and  customs  of  our  country  and  of  our 
religion.     M.  Brillon  and  I  think,  with  you,  that  there  is  but 
one  religion  and  one  moral  law  common  to  all  wise  men; 
we  are,  however,  obliged  to  submit  to  the  usages  of  our  coun- 
try;  an  isolated  being,  keeping  silent  and  leaving  to  others 
their  prejudices,  can  do  as  he  wishes.     Married  people,  be- 
longing to  a  large  family,  owe  it  some  account  of  their  doings. 
There  would  be  still  many  other  objections  to  the  flattering 
proposal  you  have  made  us ;  what  it  has  cost  us  to  refuse  it, 
should  assure  you  forever  of  our  affection. 

Be  at  ease,  my  good  Papa :  as  long  as  we  li ve,  you  shall 
not  be  neglected.     Without  being  your  children  we  are  your 


friends,  and  we  will  give  you  always  all  the  attention  that 
lies  in  our  power. 

I  beg  you,  my  kind  Papa,  to  communicate  to  your  son 
all  the  obstacles  in  the  way  of  the  attachment  he  would  form 
with  our  child.  He  must  be  the  friend  of  all  of  us ;  he  will  be 
happy  and  will  give  us  happiness  in  keeping  to  this  feeling: 
if  it  becomes  warmer,  he  will  make  himself  unhappy,  and  give 
us  pain ;  his  integrity  and  your  wisdom  reassure  us.  Good- 
bye, my  Papa.  Love  us  and  try  to  forget  a  plan,  the  remem- 
brance of  which  would  only  cause  us  regret ;  or  remind  us  of  it 
only  in  order  to  strengthen,  if  possible,  our  confidence  in  the 
esteem  and  friendship  which  we  have  for  each  other. 

Upon  the  birth  of  the  first  child  of  this  marriage  Franklin 
wrote  to  Madame  Brillon :  — 

Ce  28  Novbre  '84. 

Je  vous  felicite  tres  cordialement  ma  tres  chere  amie  de 
1'heureux  accouchement  de  votre  fille.  Puisse  Penfant  etre 
aussi  bonne  et  aussi  aimable  que  sa  mere,  sa  grande-mere 
et  sa  grande-grande-mere,  etc.  Je  me  souviens  d'avoir  un 
jour  rencontre*  chez  vous  quatre  de  vos  generations  quand  vos 
enfants  e*toient  tres  jeunes  et  que  j'ai  dit  alors  que  j'espeVois 
vivre  a  voir  la  cinquieme.  Voici  mon  souhait  prophetique 
accompli.  Je  fais  des  vceus  actuellement  pour  la  prosp^rite* 
continuelle  de  toute  la  bonne  famille.  Avez-vous  des  nou- 
velles  de  notre  bon  Ev£que  ?  Oil  est-il  ?  Comment  se  porte- 
t-il?  Je  vous  embrasse  fortement. 

B.  F. 

To  this  letter  Madame  Brillon  replied :  — 


2nd  December,  1784. 

Your  letter,  my  kind  Papa,  has  given  me  great  pleasure ; 
but  if  you  would  give  me  a  greater,  remain  in  France  until 
you  see  my  sixth  generation.  I  only  ask  you  for  fifteen  or 
sixteen  years :  my  granddaughter  will  be  marriageable  early ; 
she  is  fine  and  strong.  I  am  tasting  a  new  feeling,  my  good 
Papa,  to  which  my  heart  gives  itself  with  satisfaction,  it  is  so 
sweet  to  love.  I  have  never  been  able  to  conceive  how  beings 
exist  who  are  such  enemies  to  themselves  as  to  reject  friend- 
ship. They  are  ingrates,  one  says ;  well  one  is  deceived ;  it 
is  a  little  hard  sometimes,  but  one  is  not  so  always ;  and  to  feel 
oneself  incapable  of  returning  it  gives  a  contentment  that  con- 
soles one  for  the  treachery. 

My  little  nurse  is  charming  and  fresh  as  a  morning  rose. 
The  first  days  the  child  had  difficulty,  .  .  .  but  patience  and 
the  mother's  courage  overcame  it;  all  goes  well  now,  and 
nothing  could  be  more  interesting  than  this  picture  of  a  young 
and  pretty  person  nursing  a  superb  child,  the  father  unceas- 
ingly occupied  with  the  spectacle,  and  joining  his  attentions 
to  those  of  his  wife.  My  eyes  often  are  wet,  and  my  heart 
rejoices,  my  kind  Papa.  You  realize  so  well  the  price  of  all 
that  belongs  to  good  and  beautiful  nature  that  I  owe  you  these 
details.  My  daughter  charges  me  with  her  thanks  and  com- 
pliments to  you;  my  youngest  and  my  men  present  their 
respects,  and  I,  my  friend,  I  beg  you  to  believe  that  my  friend- 
ship and  my  existence  will  always  be  one  for  you. 

The  following  letter  from  Franklin  is  without  date.  It 
elicited  from  her  a  witty  and  triumphant  reply. 

"Pour  vous  faire  mieux  comprendre  la  Force  de  ma  Dem- 
onstration que  vous  ne  m'aimez  pas,  je  commence  par  un 
petit  Conte. 


"Un  Mendiant  demandoit  d'un  rich  Eveque  un  Louis  en 
Aumones.  Tu  es  un  Extravagant  On  ne  donne  pas  des 
Louis  aux  Mendiants.  Un  Ecu  done.  Non.  C'est  trop. 
Un  Liard  done,  —  ou  votre  Benediction.  Mon  Benediction  ! 
— Oui,  je  te  le  donnerai.  Non  je  ne  Paccepterai  pas.  Car  s'il 
vaut  en  Liard,  vous  ne  le  voulez  pas  me  dormer.  Voila 
comme  cette  Eveque  aimoit  son  Voisin.  Voila  sa  Charite* ! 
Et  si  j'examine  la  votre  je  ne  la  trouverai  pas  beaucoup  plus 
grande.  J'ai  en  un  faim  incroyable  &  vous  ne  m'aviez  pas 
donne  £  manger,  j'etois  Etranger,  &  j'etois  presque  aussi 
malade  que  Colin  de  votre  Chanson,  &  vous  ne  m'aviez  pas  ni 
recu  ni  gueri,  ni  meme  soulage*. 

"Vous  qui  6t6s  riche  comme  un  Archeveque  en  toutes  les 
Vertus  chretiennes  et  morales  &  qui  pourrez  m'en  sacrifier 
une  petite  portion  de  quelques  unes  sans  que  la  perte  soit 
visible.  Vous  me  dites  que  cela  est  trop,  &  vous  ne  voulez 
pas  le  faire.  Voila  votre  Charite",  a  un  pauvre  Miserable, 
qui  autrefois  jouoit  de  PAffluence  et  qui  est  malheuresement 
reduit  a  demander  de  vos  Aumones.  Vous  dites  neantmoins, 
que  vous  1'amiez.  Mais  vous  ne  lui  donneriez  pas  votre 
Amitie  s'il  faut  pour  ce  la"  faire  la  de  pense  de  la  moindre 
petite  Morceau  de  la  Valeur  d'un  Liard,  de  votre  Sagesse." 

Madame  Brillon  replied :  - — 

ist  July  Passy. 

MY  DEAR  PAPA:  Your  bishop  was  a  niggard  and  your 
beggar  a  rascally  fellow.  You  are  a  very  skilful  sophist, 
as  you  almost  convince  one  with  your  clever  arguments 
founded  on  a  false  principle.  Is  it  to  Dr.  Franklin,  the 
celebrated  philosopher,  the  profound  statesman,  that  a 
woman  speaks  thus  irreverently  ?  Yes,  this  erudite  man,  this 


legislator,  has  his  weakness  (it  is  the  weakness,  moreover,  of 
great  men :  he  has  taken  full  advantage  of  it).  But  let  us  go 
into  the  matter. 

To  prove  that  I  do  not  love  you,  my  good  Papa,  you  com- 
pare yourself  to  a  beggar  who  asked  alms  from  a  bishop. 
Now,  the  r61e  of  a  bishop  is  not  to  refuse  to  give  to  beggars 
when  they  are  really  in  want ;  he  honours  himself  in  doing 
good.  But  in  truth  the  kind  of  charity  which  you  ask  of  me 
so  humorously  can  be  found  everywhere.  You  will  not 
suffer  by  my  refusals !  What  would  you  think  of  your  beggar, 
if,  the  bishop  having  given  him  the  "louis"  which  he  asked,  he 
had  complained  because  he  did  not  get  two  ?  That,  however, 
is  your  case,  my  good  friend. 

You  adopted  me  as  your  daughter,  I  chose  you  for  my 
father:  what  do  you  expect  from  me?  Friendship!  well, 
I  love  you  as  a  daughter  should  love  her  father.  The  purest, 
most  tender  and  respectful  affection  for  you  fills  my  soul; 
you  asked  me  for  a  "  louis  " ;  I  gave  it  to  you,  and  yet  you  mur- 
mur at  not  getting  another  one,  which  does  not  belong  to  me. 
It  is  a  treasure  which  has  been  entrusted  to  me,  my  good 
Papa;  I  guard  it  and  will  always  guard  it  carefully.  Even 
if  you  were  like  "Colin  sick,"  in  truth  I  could  not  cure  you; 
and  nevertheless,  whatever  you  may  think  or  say,  no  one  in  this 
world  loves  you  more  than  I. 


2Oth  October,  Marseilles. 

I  received  on  my  arrival  here,  my  good  Papa,  your  letter 
of  October  ist.  It  gave  me  much  pleasure ;  I  found  in  it  evi- 
dences of  your  friendship  and  a  touch  of  that  gayety  and 
gallantry  which  makes  all  women  love  you,  because  you  love 


them  all.  Your  proposition  to  carry  me  on  your  wings,  if 
you  were  the  angel  Gabriel,  made  me  laugh ;  but  I  would  not 
accept  it,  although  I  am  no  longer  very  young  nor  a  virgin. 
That  angel  was  a  sly  fellow  and  your  nature  united  to  his 
would  become  too  dangerous.  I  would  be  afraid  of  miracles 
happening,  and  miracles  between  women  and  angels  might 
not  always  bring  a  redeemer.  .  .  . 

I  have  arranged,  my  good  friend,  to  write  alternately  to 
my  "great  neighbour"  and  to  you ;  the  one  to  whom  I  shall  not 
have  written  will  kindly  tell  the  other  that  I  love  him  with  all 
my  heart,  and  when  it  comes  your  turn  you  will  add  an  em- 
brace for  the  good  wife  of  our  neighbor,  for  her  daughter,  for 
little  Mother  Caillot,  for  all  the  gentle  and  pretty  women  of 
my  acquaintance  whom  you  may  meet.  You  see  that  not 
being  able  to  amuse  you,  either  by  my  carols  or  by  chess,  I 
seek  to  procure  you  other  pleasures.  If  you  had  been  at 
Avignon  with  us,  it  is  there  you  would  have  wished  to  embrace 
people.  The  women  are  charming  there;  I  thought  of  you 
every  time  I  saw  one  of  them.  Adieu,  my  good  Papa;  I 
shall  not  relate  to  you  the  events  of  my  journey,  as  I  have 
written  of  them  to  our  neighbor,  who  will  communicate  them 
to  you.  I  confine  myself  to  assuring  you  of  my  most  constant 
and  tender  friendship.  .  .  . 


1 3th  October,  the  Thuillerie. 

How  are  you,  my  good  Papa?  Never  has  it  cost  me  so 
much  to  leave  you;  every  evening  it  seems  to  me  that  you 
would  be  very  glad  to  see  me,  and  every  evening  I  think  of  you. 
On  Monday,  the  2ist,  I  shall  go  to  get  you ;  I  hope  that  you 
will  then  be  well  on  your  feet,  and  that  the  teas  of  Wednesday 


and  Saturday,  and  that  of  Sunday  morning,  will  regain  all 
their  brilliance.  I  will  bring  you  la  bonne  eveque.  My  fat 
husband  will  make  us  laugh,  our  children  will  laugh  to- 
gether, our  big  neighbour  will  quiz,  the  Abbes  La  Roche  and 
Morellet  will  eat  all  the  butter,  Mme.  Grand,  her  amiable 
niece,  and  M.  Grand  will  not  harm  the  society,  Pere  Pagin 
will  play  "God  of  Love"  on  his  violin,  I  the  march  on  the 
piano,  and  you  "Petits  Oiseaux"  on  the  harmonica. 

O !  my  friend,  let  us  see  in  the  future  fine  and  strong 
legs  for  you,  and  think  no  more  of  the  bad  one  that  has  so 
persecuted  you.  After  the  bad,  one  enjoys  the  good  more; 
life  is  sown  with  one  and  the  other,  which  she  changes  un- 
ceasingly. What  she  cannot  keep  from  being  equal  and 
unchangeable  is  my  tenderness  for  you,  that  time,  place,  and 
events  will  never  change. 

My  mother  and  all  my  family  beg  to  be  remembered  to 

I  had  news  of  you  from  our  neighbour,  but  I  must  abso- 
lutely have  some  from  you. 


Je  me  rendrai  chez  vous  ma  chere  fille  demain  matin 
avec  grand  plaisir  et  si  vous  ne  pourrez  pas  descendre  sans 
difficult^  peute'tre  je  serai  assez  fort  pour  monter  votre  esca- 
lier.  Le  de*sir  de  vous  voir  me  donnera  quelque  force  de  plus. 
Mon  fils  m'aidera  volontiers;  car  il  ne  s'oppose  jamais  a 
mes  propositions  d'aller  avec  moi  chez  Madame  Brillon. 

Les  visites  de  votre  bon  mari  pendant  ma  maladie  m'a 
e*t6  tres  agrdable.  Sa  conversation  m'a  soulage"  et  egaye. 
Je  regrette  qu'au  lieu  de  la  chercher  quand  j'ai  6t€  chez  vous 
j'ai  perdu  tant  de  terns  a  jouer  aux  echecs.  II  a  beaucoup 


des  contes  et  toujours  bien  appliquees.  S'il  vous  a  derobe 
quelques  uns  vous  pouvez  les  repeter  n£anmoins,  car  ils  me 
plairont  toujours  de  votre  bouche. 

M.  Pagin  m'a  fait  Phonneur  de  me  visiter  hier.  C'est 
assurdment  un  des  meilleurs  homines  possibles,  car  il  a  eu  la 
patience  de  m'entendre  jouer  une  air  sur  Pharmonica  et  de 
Pentendre  jusqu'a  la  fin. 


ist  November,  The  Thuillerie. 

Here  I  am  reduced  to  writing  to  you,  my  good  papa,  and 
to  saying  that  I  love  you.  It  was  sweeter  no  doubt  to  let  you 
see  it  in  my  eyes.  How  am  I  going  to  spend  the  Wednesdays 
and  Saturdays?  No  teas,  no  chess,  no  music,  no  hope  of 
seeing  or  embracing  my  good  papa  !  It  seems  to  me  that  the 
privation  which  I  experience  from  your  absence  would 
suffice  to  make  me  change  my  views,  were  I  inclined  to 

Happiness  is  so  uncertain,  so  many  obstacles  are  encoun- 
tered in  its  pursuit,  that  the  conviction  that  we  shall  be  happier 
in  another  life  can  alone  help  us  to  bear  the  trials  of  this  one. 
In  paradise  we  shall  be  reunited,  never  to  leave  each  other 
again !  We  shall  there  live  on  roasted  apples  only ;  the  music 
will  be  composed  of  Scotch  airs ;  all  parties  will  be  given  over 
to  chess,  so  that  no  one  may  be  disappointed ;  every  one  will 
speak  the  same  language;  the  English  will  be  neither  unjust 
nor  wicked  there ;  the  women  will  not  be  coquettes,  the  men 
will  be  neither  jealous  nor  too  gallant ;  "  King  John"  will  be 
left  to  eat  his  apples  in  peace;  perhaps  he  will  be  decent 
enough  to  offer  some  to  his  neighbours — who  knows?  since 
we  shall  want  for  nothing  hi  paradise !  We  shall  never  suffer 


from  gout  there  nor  from  our  nerves ;  Mr.  Mesmer  will  con- 
tent himself  with  playing  on  the  harmonica,  without  bothering 
us  about  electric  fluids ;  ambition,  envy,  pretensions,  jealousy, 
prejudices,  all  these  will  vanish  at  the  sound  of  the  trumpet. 
A  lasting,  sweet,  and  peaceful  friendship  will  animate  every 
society.  Every  day  we  shall  love  one  another,  in  order  that 
we  may  love  one  another  still  more  the  day  after;  in  a  word, 
we  shall  be  completely  happy.  In  the  meantime  let  us  get 
all  the  good  we  can  out  of  this  poor  world  of  ours.  I  am  far 
from  you,  my  good  Papa ;  I  look  forward  to  the  time  of  our 
meeting,  and  I  am  pleased  to  think  that  your  regrets  and 
desires  equal  mine. 

My  mother  and  my  children  send  you  their  loving  remem- 
brance; we  should  all  like  to  have  you  here.  May  I  ask 
you  to  remember  me  to  your  grandson? 

Franklin  was  never  fluent  or  correct  in  writing  or  speaking 
French.  Every  one  knows  that  when  he  attended  the  theatre 
with  Madame  de  Boufflers  he  followed  her  example  and 
applauded  when  she  showed  approval,  and  learned  to  his 
chagrin  that  he  had  applauded  most  loudly  eulogistic  refer- 
ences to  himself.  The  other  representatives  of  the  United 
States  were  even  less  familiar  with  the  language.  None  of 
them  could  converse  in  French.  Jefferson  declared  that  he 
was  never  sure  he  understood  what  was  said  to  him ;  and  when 
Silas  Deane  protested  that  he  never  spoke  with  English  people 
in  Paris,  Beaumarchais  remarked  sarcastically,  "He  must 
then  be  the  most  silent  man  in  France,  for  I  defy  him  to  say 
six  words  to  a  Frenchman." 

Franklin  never  dared  to  write  an  official  or  business  letter 
in  French,  but  delegated  that  task  to  his  secretary  or  to  his 


grandson.  Even  to  his  friend  Chaumont  he  wrote  in  English, 
saying  that  it  took  too  much  time  to  write  in  French  and 
was  after  all  very  bad  French.  "The  best  master  of  lan- 
guage," he  said,  "is  a  mistress,"  and  he  essayed  to  write  in 
sprightly  though  stumbling  French  his  gallant  letters  to  fair 
and  witty  women.  Madame  Brillon  corrected  his  exercises 
and  his  letters  and  some  of  these  amended  epistles  are  still 
in  existence.  The  letter  in  reply  to  the  above  from  Madame 
Brillon  is  in  Franklin's  handwriting,  the  italicized  passages  are 
Madame  Brillon's  corrections. 

"  Depuis  que  vous  m'aves  assure*  que  nous  nous  rencontrons 
rencontrerons  et  que  nous  nous  reconnoitrons  en  paradis,  j'ai 
pense*  continuellement  sur  Parrangement  de  nos  Affaires  dans 
ce  pays  la ;  car  j'ai  grand  grande  confiance  en  vos  assurances, 
et  je  crois  implicitement  ce  que  vous  croye's : 

"  Vraisemblablement  plus  que  de  40  anne'es  couleroient 
couleront  apre*s  mon  arrivee  la,  avant  que  vous  me  suiveres 
suivies:  je  crains,  un  peu,  que  dans  la  course  d'une  d'un 
si  longue  long  temps,  vous  pouve*s  ne  puissies  m'cublier, 
c'est  pourqu'oi  j'ai  eu  la  pense'es  de  vous  proposer  de  me 
donner  votre  parole  d'honneur,  de  ne  pas  renouveller  la" 
votre  contrat  avec  Mr  B.  —  je  vous  donnent  au  donnerai  en 
mesme  temps  le  mien  la  mienne  de  vous  attend  re  mais  ce 
monsieur  est  si  bon,  si  genereux  envers  nous  —  il  vous  aime 
—  et  nous  lui  —  si  bien  —  que  je  ne  puis  [pas]  penser  [de] 
a  cette  proposition,  sans  quelque  [s]  [scrupules  de]  scrupule[s] 
de  conscience  —  cependant  Pidee  d'une  Eternite'  dans  laquelle 
je  ne  serai  pas  plus  favorise  que  d'estre  permis  d'avoir  per- 
mission de  baiser  vos  mains,  ou  vos  joues  quelquefois,  et  que 
de  passdr  deux  ou  trois  heures  dans  votre  douce  socie'te  les 
soirees  des  mercredis  et  samedis,  c'est  effroyable :  enfin  je  ne 


puis  pas  faire  cette  proposition,  mais  comme  (avec  tous  ceux 
qui  vous  connoissent)  je  souhaitte  de  vous  voir  heureuse  en 
toutes  choses,  nous  pouvons  agreer  de  n'en  plus  parlor  a 
present  et  de  la  laisser  a  vous,  vous  laisser  la  liberte  (Ten 
decider,  quand  nous  [tous]  nous  rencontrerons  tous:  1£  d'en 
determiner  comme  vous  jugeres  le  meilleur  pour  [la]  vostre 
felicite*  et  pour  les  ndtres,  determines  comme  vous  voudres, 
je  sens  que  je  vous  aimera  aimer ai  eternellement  —  si  vous 
me  rejetteres  rejettes,  peut  estre  je  m'addresserai  m'addres- 
seraije  a  mde  D'hardancourt,  et  qui  il  a  qui  il  plaira  [peut  estre 
a  elle]  de  faire  menage  avec  moi ;  alors  je  passerai  mes  heures 
domestiques  agr&iblement  avec  elle ;  et  je  serai  plus  a  porte'e 
de  vous  voir,  j'aurai  asses  de  terns  dans  ces  40  annees  la,  de 
pratiquer  sur  L'Armonica,  et  peut  estre  je  jouerai  ass6s  bien 
pour  estre  digne  d'accompagner  votre  forte"  piano,  nous  aurons 
de  terns  en  terns  de  petits  concerts :  le  bon  pdre  pagin  sera  de 
la  partie,  votre  voisin  et  sa  chere  famille  [mr  jupin]  mr  de 
chaumont,  mr  B,  mr  jourdon,  mr  grammont,  mde  du  tartre,  la 
petite  me*re,  et  d'autres  amis  choisis  seroient  seront  notre 
auditoire,  et  les  chores  bonnes  fiiles  accompagne'es  par  quel- 
ques  autres  jeunes  anges  de  qui  vous  m'ave's  deja  donne"  les 
portraits,  chanteroient  chanteront  av£c  nous  le  alleluia,  nous 
mangerons  ensemble  des  pommes  de  paradis  roties  ave"c 
du  beure  et  de  la  muscade ;  et  nous  aurons  pitid  de  ceux  qui 
ne  sont  seront  pas  morts. " 


More  than  40  years  —  Plus  de  (not  que)  40  anne'es. 
To  think  of  a  thing  —  Penser  a  (not  de)  une  chose. 
To    be     permitted  —  D 'avoir     Permission    (not     d'etre 


Perhaps  I  shall  address  myself  —  Peute'tre  m'addresserai-je 
(not  je  m'addresserai). 

Rough  drafts  of  the  following  letters  from  Franklin  are 
in  The  American  Philosophical  Society. 


Etant  revenu  chez  moi,  j'e"tois  surpris  de  trouver  qu'il 
e"toit  presque  onze  heures.  Je  crains  qu'oubliant  toutes  autres 
choses  par  notre  trop  d 'attention  au  Jeu  d'Echecs,  nous  vous 
avions  beaucoup  incommode,  en  vous  detenant  si  long  temps 
dans  le  Bain.  Dites  moi,  ma  chere  Amie,  comment  vous 
vous  trouvez  ce  matin.  Jamais  je  ne  consentirai  de  com- 
mencer  une  Partie  ci-apre's  dans  votre  Chambre  a  baigner. 
Pouvez  vous  me  pardonner  cette  Indiscretion? 

Je  vous  envoye  le  Homere  de  M.  Bitaube".  Get  aimable 
Homme  a  beaucoup  d'envie  d'etre  connu  de  Made  Brillon. 
Est  il  permis  de  1'amener  avec  moi  le  Mercredi  prochain? 
Si  cela  n'est  pas  convenable  pour  vous,  je  1'eviterai  — 

Samedy  onze  heures  de  soir. 


J'ai  6t6  bien  moitine"  hier  au  soir  de  n'avoir  pas  pu  me 
rendre  chez  ma  chere  Amie.  J'avois  une  VISITATION  qui  a 
duree  jusqu  a  onze  heures. 

Bien  des  Remerciements  pour  votre  soin  obligeante  en  me 
procurant  ces  livres.  Je  les  retournera  bient6t  en  bon  ordre. 
Je  suis  bien  oblige"  aussi  a  M.  de  Bospin. 

C'est  vrai  que  j'ai  souvent  dit  que  je  vous  aime  trop, 
et  j'ai  dit  la  verite".  Jugez  vous  apres  une  Comparaison  que 
je  va  faire,  qui  de  nous  deux  aime  le  plus.  Si  je  demande  d'un 


Ami,  j'ai  besoin  de  vos  Chevaux  pour  faire  une  Voyage 
pretez  les  a  moi ;  &  si  il  repond  je  serais  bien  aise  de  vous 
obliger,  mais  je  crams  qu'ils  seront  gatees  par  cette  Voyage, 
&  je  ne  peux  pas  me  resoudre  de  les  preter  a  personne ;  ne 
dois-je  pas  conclusse  que  cet  homme  aime  ses  chevaux  plus 
qu'il  ne  m'aime  ?  Et  si  dans  le  meme  Cas  je  voudroit  volon- 
tairement  hazarder  mes  chevaux  en  les  pretant  a  lui,  n'est 
il  pas  clair  que  je  Paime  plus  que  je  ne  'aime  mes  chevaux, 
&  aussi  plus  qu'il  m'aime?  Vous  scavez  que  je  suis  pret  a 
sacrifier  mes  beaux  &  grands  chevaux. 


Qu'elle  difference,  ma  chere  amie  entre  vous  et  moi: 
vous  me  trouvez  des  fautes  innombrables,  tandis  que  je 
m'en  vois  qu'une  en  vous  (mais,  c'est  peut  e^re  la  faute  de  mes 
lunettes),  j'entends  cette  espece  d'avarice  qui  vous  porte 
a  monopoler  sur  touttes  mes  affections;  et  de  ne  m'en  per- 
mettre  aucunes,  pour  les  aimables  d'ames  de  votre  pays. 
Vous  vous  imaginer  qu'il  n'est  pas  possible  que  mon  Affection 
(ou  ma  tendresse).  Soit  diviser,  sans  6tre  diminuer.  Vous 
vous  trompez ;  et  vous  oubliez  la  f aeon  badine  avec  laquelle 
vous  m'avez  amette :  vous  renoncer,  et  donnez  une  exclusion 
totale  a  tout  ce  que  notre  amour  pouvoit  avoir  de  charnel  en 
ne  me  permettant  que  quelques  Baisers,  civil  et  honnete,  tels 
que  vous  en  pourriez  donner  a  quelques  petits  cousins :  que 
m'en  revient  il  done  tout,  pour  que  je  ne  puisse  pas  en  donner 
autant  aux  autres  sans  une  diminution  de  ce  qui  vous  appar- 
tient?  Les  Opperations  de  PEsprit,  PEstime,  PAdmiration, 
le  Respect,  et  PAffection  meme !  (pour  un  objet)  peuvent  se 
multiplier  autant  que  les  objets  qui  le  meritent  se  presentent ; 
et  cependant  avoir  la  meme  fa  con  depenser  pour  le  pr  Objet 


qui  n'a  par  consequent  mil  lieu  de  se  plaindre  d'une  injure. 
Elles  sont  dans  leur  nature  aussi  divisibles  que  les  sons  doux 
du  forte  piano  produits  par  vos  mains  habiles,  vingt  personnes 
a  la  fois  peuvent  en  recevoir  le  meme  plaisir,  sans  diminuer 
celui  qu'  obligeament,  vous  me  destinez  et  je  pourrois  (tout 
aussi  peu  raisonnablement)  exiger  de  votre  amitie',  que  ces 
doux  sons  ne  puisse  atteindre  ni  charmer  d'autres  oreilles 
que  les  miennes. 

Vous  voyez  done,  d'apres  cela  combien  vous  £tes  injuste 
dans  vos  demandes,  et  dans  la  guerre  ouverte  que  vous  me 
declarer,  si  je  n'y  souscris  pas;  en  effet,  c'est  moi  qui  ai  le 
plus  Sujet  de  me  plaindre!  mon  pauvre  petit  amour,  que 
vous  auriez  du  ce  me  semble  cherir,  au  lieu  d'etre  gras  et  joly 
(comme  ceux  de  vos  elegantes  peintures)  est  maigre  et  pret  a 
mourier  de  faim !  faute  d'une  nouriture  substantielle,  que  sa 
mere  inhumainement  lui  refuse !  et  encore  maintenant  veut 
elle  lui  rogner  ses  petittes  ailes  afin  qu'il  n'en  puisse  pas 
aller  chercher  ailleurs !  je  m'imagine  qu'aucuns  de  nous 
ne  doit  gagner  aucunes  choses  dans  cette  guerre;  et  par 
consequent  comme  me  sentant  le  plus  foible,  je  ferai  (ce 
qui  en  effet  doit  e'tre  fait  par  le  plus  sage)  des  propositions 
de  paix. 

Pour  qu'une  paix  puisse  etre  durable  il  faut  que  les  articles 
du  traite  soient  regies  d'apres  les  principes  de  la  plus  parfaitte 
equite  et  egalite' :  dans  cette  vue  j'ai  dresse  les  articles  suivants 

ARTICLE  i.  —